Three Decades of a Miracle

A humane job, performed by Cuban doctors who returned sight to millions of people worldwide.  

"In the field of Ophthalmology there hasn’t been in Cuba a more important task than the Operation Miracle", quoted doctor Marcelino Rio Torres at the time of celebrating this July 10th the 15th anniversary of the creation of a program that made possible that millions of people worldwide recovered one of the most important senses: sight.  

The date serves as excuse to speak about the topic with whom still runs the Cuban Institute of Ophthalmology Ramón Pando Ferrer, facility where this wonderful humane work was born – performed by the Cuban doctors – through which three millions 88 thousand 516 patients were assisted, according to figures offered by the Unit of Medical Cooperation of the Ministry of Public Health.  

Doctor Marcelino told that in the evening of July 9th, 2004 Fidel arrived, without prior notice, to the hospital. "In that encounter we participate, among others, the doctor Eneida Pérez Candelaria (who currently directs Microsurgery service) and Doctor Reinaldo Ríos.  

"Fidel pointed out that President Chávez had commented, soon after the implementation of educational missions that Venezuelans didn't learn, and the cause was that they couldn’t see well, apparently, they suffered from cataracts. Then the Commander in Chief asked us if we were willing to operate 50 patients per day. Can you imagine!, how could we refuse before such request?  

"The Venezuelans were already in Cuba, therefore on the following day, which was July 10th, we were already assisting patients in doctor’s offices and taking them to the operation theater, with the foreseen diagnosis. That was the beginning".  

How did the name Miracle come up?  

"We suppose it was the Commander in Chief’s idea. The program was born in Cuba with the name of Operation, in Venezuela they call it Mission. But the truth is that when the dressing of patients were removed from their eyes, the first thing they exclaimed was: ` This is a Miracle `. Most likely, Fidel knew what they would say.  

“That’s how we started until one day we operated on 500 cataracts. That led us to think of the need of creating two work groups, in order to do this we incorporated specialists from other hospitals and provinces, we even had to bring some quickly from abroad, where they were working on a mission. That made everything easier because when one group was working during the day, sometimes until the early morning the other one was resting. Thanks to that by late October and early November we had already carried out 13 thousand 600 surgical interventions of this kind."  

When did the program reach world level?  

"On the following year (2005) it was then that we decided to send our professionals to Venezuela, to Bolivia, where several eye care centers. That’s why we say that Operation Miracle was born here; it’s our work we ended up having presence in one more than a dozen countries, although some refused to receive Cuban doctors, like Brazil and Argentina. What did patients do then? Well they walked across the border with Bolivia, unbelievable!, and they were operated there.  

"In the homeland of President Evo Morales we built more than 8 eye care centers and in Venezuela a few, others were opened in Nicaragua, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. In Argentina we built one and named it after Ernesto Che Guevara, and another in Uruguay which we called José Martí, and in these places the very people who at first `detested` us, began to send their children to be trained as specialists.  

"In the African continent we had a Miracle Mission in Benguela, Angola, and in Mali, without counting the eye doctors we have in Algeria, where Cuban physicians worked for the first time as internationalist."  

What has Operation Miracle meant for Doctor Marcelino?  

"Come to think about it! As a professional it has been the greatest thing in my life. A work began by Fidel and our doctors have known how to complete until today. Actually, a great satisfaction."

Tribute to Hugo Chavez at Caribbean Festival in Santiago de Cuba

Santiago de Cuba, Jul 3 (Prensa Latina) The 4th Hugo Chavez International Colloquium, The Passion that Unites Us, will take place in this city on July 5 and 6, as part of the solidarity vocation of the 39th Caribbean Festival, which will open on Wednesday.

The Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP) and the Oscar Ruiz, Caracola and Maracapana foundations sponsor the event, which will be attended by advocates of friendship between the two peoples, artists and academics from the foreign delegations that will participate in the so-called Fire Festival.

The 65th and 6th anniversaries of the former Venezuelan president's birth and death, respectively, will be the motivations of the meeting, which will also evoke the 15 years of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our Americas, founded by Chavez and Fidel Castro.

The dimension and force of the Bolivarian leader's Latin American and Caribbean thinking, his anti-interference legacy, the Venezuelan Revolution's current challenges and solidarity as an alternative of continental resistance against imperialist hegemony will be the main topics for debate at the Colloquium.

  • Published in Culture

Six Years After the Death of Chávez, Venezuela Defends itself with Courage

The world is a unique witness of a Venezuela challenged by imperial aggressions and still goes ahead with dignity. We will keep carrying the flag of the free peoples that raise their voice against the imperial meddling, said President Nicolas Maduro in Tweeter this Monday.

"Despite the media campaigns against Venezuela, we face with courage and rebelliousness the mean violations of the United States. We have the solidarity of the peoples of the world", he wrote.

That is the case of countries like China, Cuba, Bolivia, Iran and Turkey, among others that keep supporting Maduro’s Government. In addition, the Russian Prime Minister, Dmitri Medvedev, denounced early this week the resume on behalf of the United States of an open politics to bring down Latin American governments that are a nuisance to them, like in the case of Venezuela.

"From Washington are heard statements admitting a military intervention and provocations take place on the borders", said the Prime Minister, when commenting events that have occurred in the South American country.

Trump has found the support of some countries to military intervene in Venezuela using the "Monroe Doctrine" from 1823: "America for North Americans", that is, to them the entire Western Hemisphere belongs to the United States like a “backyard”.

On the other hand, Maduro has tirelessly denounced the inquisitional process of the world far-right against the Bolivarian Revolution with the objective of seizing the South American country and its resources at any cost necessary.

We just have to revise history to realize the great cut Washington wins in this dirty game. Let’s remember the excellent business it represented for the Power Elite in the United State and especially large companies, World War II.

As Jacques R. Pauwels explained brilliantly in his time, thanks to the victory in World War II, "the United States industry recovered intact its investments in Germany and captured the Nazi scientists and their technology."

Yankee companies took advantage of the opportunity and in 1945 they began to recreate the world with the American way.

Today, the Imperial Elite, trapped in domestic contradictions, at the threshold of the next elections, needs a successful military adventure as well as an enemy that raises the horror and hatred of manageable people: the Satanized "socialism."

Six years after Hugo Chavez's disappearance the best homage that Venezuelan can offer is to keep on building Socialism and keep his legacy alive with the unconditional support to President Nicolas Maduro, the leader for which they voted in elections in May of last year.

The people recognizes that those who were behind the coup-d’état of 2002 against Chávez are the same who at present attempt against this revolutionary government. Just like then, in less than 48 hours, they went on out in the streets and put Chávez again in his office, today they will defend their rightful and constitutional President because Venezuela belongs to Venezuelans.

Chávez closed his eyes on March 5th, 2013 but he opened the eyes of millions in Latin America. Nobody thinks he’s gone forever...

Venezuela's Colloquium on Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez's Thoughts

Caracas, Aug 10 (Prensa Latina) The Venezuela-Cuba Mutual Friendship and Solidarity Movement will hold an International Colloquium on the thoughts of Fidel Castro (1926- 2016) and Hugo Chavez (1954-2013) here on August 14, reported organizers.

Based in the National Experimental University of the Arts, in Caracas, the event will pay homage to the leader of the Cuban Revolution on the 92nd anniversary of his birth on August 13.

The meeting will address the contributions of Fidel and Chavez to the unity and independence of Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as the need to strengthen the ideological and conceptual bases of the struggles for the definitive emancipation of the regional countries.

The coordinator of the Venezuela-Cuba Solidarity movement, Yhonny Garcia Calles, told Prensa Latina that the colloquium will be attended by the renowned Cuban researcher Dolores Guerra, dedicated to the study of Fidel Castro's thought.

Among other guests, will intervene diplomatic authorities of the countries of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America-Trade Treaty of the Peoples (ALBA-TCP) accredited in Venezuela, leaders of social movements and officials of the Cuban missions of collaboration in this country.

Garcia Calles stressed the need to deeply study the contribution of Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez to the unity and independence of Latin America and the Caribbean, facing the actions of political, media, economic and financial war promoted against Venezuela and other countries in the area.

  • Published in Cuba

Eternal Chavez: “America is my homeland”

Undisputed leader of the awakening of the new America, unconditional friend of Cuba, Hugo Chavez embodied the aspirations of his people. Hugo Chavez ceased physically to exist five years ago, but his legacy is more alive than ever. President and commander, he did not labour in vain. Beyond subjective appraisals, there is a resounding work, which he tirelessly worked for. It is at everyone’s sight. No matter what exalted theoreticians, the spokespersons of the big hegemonic powers, capitalism propagandists say… the truth is that any president had done so much for Venezuela and the entire America.

He offered millions of his compatriots something that cannot be measured: a notion of dignity. He led them in the attainment of a homeland, which prevails over everything, the attainment of decorum. He woke them up from an almost ancestral lethargy, put in their hands the tools to build a future. He was deeply committed with the well-being of the ever forgotten ones. He was a brilliant leader, who spoke a lot, but did a lot at the same time. His affection, his friendliness and his extraordinary charisma placed him at the head of a renewing wave that changed the rules of the game. But charisma is not enough, as history has repeatedly demonstrated. The Chavez phenomenon was based on strong convictions, a humanist sense of an authentically Christian root, a diaphanous kindheartedness and an honest militancy.

Some of his enemies said that Chavez captivated. Actually, what he used to do was to convince. He spoke to the poor in their language, sympathized with and urged them to fight. Ignoring (or pretending to ignore) the force of facts, his adversaries again and again called him dictator. There’s an irrefutable fact no head of state of the continent underwent so many electoral processes. And always respecting people’s will, the democratic spirit of his people.

Among so many facets of his political itinerary, there remains one of particular importance: his determined Latin Americanist vocation. Hugo Chavez articulated a new vision of unity, which kicks off from the recognition of differences to strengthen the extraordinary collective heritage of our peoples. He was a continental leader. The premise of that integration lies in both solidarity and complementation. His integrationist projects always started from the knowledge of sharing what you had, not what was left over. Petrocaribe, the Bolivarian Alliance for America (ALBA) and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) created a solid platform for the very elusive project of Latin American unity. There lies his main legacy, which earned him his great stature as a stateman. Hugo Chavez Frias made Bolivar and Marti’s dreams his own, but he was not happy with being a visionary: he was also a soldier. Five years after his death, our America honors him because America was the homeland for Chavez.

Translated by Jorge Mesa Benjamin / Cubasi Translation Staff

Venezuela Looks East to Strengthen 'Hugo Chavez' Oil Belt

Moscow and Caracas also have more than 261 agreements to strengthen the economic development of both nations.

Under U.S. sanctions, Venezuela is making progress in developing its oil and gas potential with the support from Russia and China.

RELATED: Venezuela's Government Appoints Eulogio Del Pino as New Oil Minister

On Tuesday, Venezuelan Oil Minister Eulogio Del Pino met Russian Ambassador to Venezuela Vladimir Zaemskiy to review joint investment plans for the different Russian companies operating in this country.

Russia is a minority partner of the Petrovictoria, Perforosven, Petromonagas and Petromiranda companies operating in the Orinoco Oil Belt, the world's largest oil reserve, in addition to the Boqueron and Petroperija projects in Zulia state. In 2014, the Oil Belt was named after late president Hugo Chavez.

Both countries are now currently moving forward in the study plans to develop gas projects in the Paria Peninsula in Sucre state, especially the Patao and Mejillones fields belonging to the Mariscal Sucre Project.

Besides that, Moscow and Caracas have more than 261 agreements to strengthen the economic development of both nations.

Gazprombank, the third largest investment bank in Russia, is one of the largest investors in Venezuela to develop energy projects. In the last two years, it invested more than US$1 billion in projects executed by Petrozamora.

In another event, Venezuela’s Vice President of Planning, Ricardo Menendez, said on Wednesday the country’s authorities assessed to expand China's shareholding in the joint venture Petrosinovensa.

RELATED: Sanctions Against Venezuela Will Make Things Worse: UN Expert

He said China showed interest in participating in the reactivation of 800 wells of the Oil Belt in Anzoategui state to increase production by 42,000 oil barrels per day.

A new refinery will also be developed in China along with the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC).

Del Pino said this project opens a space for the South American country's oil to join the Asian market.

"This is coupled with a very aggressive marketing scheme that has been developing with a joint venture with China that offers us an advantage of reducing costs in the transportation of crude oil," he said.

  • Published in World

Palestinians in Lebanon Pay Tribute to Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez

The Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) paid posthumous tribute today to the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro, and late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, whom they praised as paradigms of solidarity and resistance.

The DFLP political bureau handed over to the charge d'affaires of the Cuban Embassy in Lebanon, Raul Madrigal, some plaques of recognition of the recently-deceased Cuban statesman and the Bolivarian leader, who passed away four years ago today.

'We are grateful of the Palestinian brothers for this tribute, for me as a Cuban who is far from his land, seeing an image of Fidel Castro, whose fighting spirit is present in so many Palestinian brothers here today is very exciting,' Madrigal said to the audience.

The main legacy of the Commander-in-Chief of the Caribbean Revolution was the example of 'always fighting and resisting', and that is the message that moved the Palestinians from the DFLP at the commemoration of the 48th anniversary of its foundation, he stressed.

The Cuban diplomat, who promised to hand over to the Venezuelan Embassy in Beirut the recognition of Chavez, recalled that the Front has fought for many years against Israeli occupation, and urged to maintain the will of resistance.

That will is going to lead to the final victory, he added, after congratulating the DFLP members and supporters gathered at a theater near Dahiyeh, in the southern suburbs of Beirut.

Speaking at the main event, the head of that organization in Lebanon, Ali Faysal, said that the DFLP should end division and make further efforts in this 48th anniversary to hold a new Palestinian National Council to recover the national collegiate program.

Faysal called on the Arab left wing to join and establish along with Palestine a multifaceted popular resistance movement against Israeli occupation, abandon the 'humiliating ties' of the Oslo Accord, stop recognizing Israel and boycott its economy.

He also called on friendly countries in Latin America to further increase their political support until the Palestinian people achieve their inalienable rights.

Founded in 1969 by Nayef Hawatmeh after leaving the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the DFLP advocates to 'defeat all efforts to betray illusory solutions and to recover the national program, the right to return (Palestine), self-determination and independence.'

The group affiliated to the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) reiterated its commitment to establishing an independent state with its capital in East Jerusalem and to end Zionist occupation.

Faysal also urged to 'end cooperation and coordination in the field of security with the illegal occupants, taking up resistance and the popular uprising, and developing and protecting it with a view to transforming it into a global national insubordination.'

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