Cuba treats 800 children from Chernobyl

Source:  Granma
April 27 2016

by : Redacción Internacional | informacion@granma.cu

The program provides treatment to children affected by the April 1989 Chernobyl disaster from Ukraine, Russia and Belarus

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Children of those affected by thermonuclear radiation from Chernobyl receive medical treatment in Cuba. Photo:Otmaro Rodríguez

Cuba currently provides medical treatment to 800 children from Ukraine, Russia and Belarus, all affected by the April 1989, Chernobyl nuclear disaster, considered to be the worst in history.

One of the first nations to respond to the tragedy

The island was one of the first nations to respond to the tragedy and offer help in the form of rehabilitation treatment to those affected, the majority children. Cuban doctor Julio Medina, coordinator of the program, reported that to date the Cuban government has provided treatment to some 24,000 children.

According to Telesur, treatments last around 45 days for the majority of patients, however some stay up to a year at the Tarará health resort – a facility which was modified into a semi-hospital for victims of the nuclear accident and is located 20 kilometers east of Havana.

The suffering of the victims

Many children from the Chernobyl disaster suffer from thyroid cancer, leukemia, muscular atrophy, physiological and neurological disorders and alopecia.

On April 26, the United Nations General Assembly held a special session in honor of the anniversary of the disaster which occurred in the then Soviet Union, now Ukrainian territory, during which the international community recalled the suffering of the victims and courage of those who responded to the emergency.

In addition to the Fukushima crisis in Japan, the Chernobyl accident, which occurred at the Vladímir Ilich Lenin nuclear power plant, is rated as the worst nuclear disaster on the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale, according to Prensa Latina

2 thoughts on “Cuba treats 800 children from Chernobyl

  1. Cuba’s internationalism knows no boundary as evidenced by its solidarity to provide health care rehabilitation for very gravely ill children, victims of the Chernobyl disaster.

    This untarnished internationalism of Cuba is not tailored to assist children or citizens of former republics like the Ukraine, Belarus and Russia that made up the former Soviet Union to so-called pay back a debt because of the military and economic assistance Cuba received from the now defunct Soviet Union.

    Some narrow minded bourgeois apologists would probably argue that Cuba’s investment in providing health care rehabilitation to the current group of 800 children (not speak of the 24,000 already treated) from the cited former socialist republics of the former Soviet Union is related to its receipt of massive aid from the Soviets.

    Clearly, any cursory study of Cuba’s internationalism would readily show that such a claim is as absurd as the bourgeois apologists who make them anywhere on the planet.

    Here are just a few examples of Cuba’s internationalism that would may such a claim not only laughable but a lie.

    First, Cuba has extended not only military assistance to Angola and Mozambique to defeat their US and Western backed counterrevolutionary insurgents but they also provided and continue to provide technical and economic assistance to these countries including their children and youths who regularly receive scholarships to study medicine, nursing, engineering and other desperately needed skills in Cuba.

    Neither Mozambique nor Angola were or are net givers of economic aid to Cuba ,if anything it would be Cuba that would be the net giver of aid to these countries. Secondly, Cuba was one of the first countries if not the first country to respond to the outbreak of the Ebola virus in West Africa last year in which Cuba’s doctors and other health specialists played a decisive role in eliminating the virus in all the affected nations. The latter is a fact that was publicly recognized by the WHO and even reluctantly recognized by Secretary of State Kerry on behalf of the US government. The record is there for anyone to see that the West African countries of Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea that were afflicted by the deadly Ebola virus were not and are not net givers of aid to Cuba perhaps in contrast to the former Soviet Union. Thirdly, Cuba’s internationalism has also been evident in scores of other countries in the developing world in “normal times” and whenever there are disasters such as earthquakes as in Haiti in 2011, Nepal in 2015, very recently in Ecuador to name a few examples. Similarly, the devastating hurricanes in Jamaica in 1988, in Dominica in 2015 and even in the US in 2005 witnessed Cuba’s international generosity though in the case of the US, the imperial arrogance of then President George W Bush and his government refused Cuba’s assistance despite Cuba’s considerable technical and logistical knowledge and experience in dealing with hurricanes for decades.

    Likewise, Cuba’s internationalism has reached out to the people of Grenada after political infants assassinated its PM Maurice Bishop and other leaders creating the conditions for the US empire to invade its sovereign territory in 1983 which it predictably did claiming as the empire always does that it sought to restablish “stability” on the island.

    In all the foregoing cases of Cuba’s internationalism which represent only a narrow sample of its international solidarity with multiple cultures and peoples during distressed as well as normal times, Cuba provided and provides economic, technical and military assistance to foster their growth, development and independence with “no strings attached” to the international aid unlike the “aid” of the empire.

    Additionally, Cuba does so as it does in the case of the sick children affected by the Chernobly disaster in 1989 for countries that probably were and are net debtors to its people and its revolution who have their own serious challenges and resource constraint.

    Thus Cuba’s internationalism is based on and driven by its humanitarian passion to help those who suffer, its revolutionary commitment to end capitalist exploitation and its unshakeable conviction that a better world is possible for all of us who occupy the planet. It should be equally obvious that no country that “helps” other countries solely because it was helped by others can ever have or will ever be able to sustain Cuba’s ever evolving revolutionary and uncompromising internationalism to contribute to a better world that is possible for our children and grandchildren.

    However, to achieve our better world, the collective fight for peace and against war, for banning nuclear weapons, nuclear plants and nuclear energy and building a world free of capitalism and imperialism are strategically important for all of the earth’s inhabitants including those who foolishly believe that they are not only the masters of the world but also masters of the universe.

    “Some people are so poor that all they have is money” Bob Marley

  2. Pingback: Cuba treats 800 children from Chernobyl | Fukus...

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