November 3, 2014 - No. 90
Developments in Latin America
and the Caribbean
President Dilma Rousseff
gives speech following her victory in second round of Brazilian
presidential election, October 26, 2014.
• Dilma Rousseff Wins Second Term in Second
Round of Presidential Election
• First Round of Presidential Election
• Evo Morales Affirms Re-Election as "Victory
of the Anti-Imperialists"
• U.S. Criminal Blockade Massively Rejected by
• Venezuela Wins Security Council Seat
• Thousands of Youth March Against Terrorism
• Mass Protests Continue to Demand Return of
• Latin American and
Caribbean Nations' Exemplary Stand to Combat Ebola
• Key Address by Cuban President Raúl
• Declaration of Extraordinary Summit
Dilma Rousseff Wins Second Term in
Second Round of Presidential Election
Supporters of Dilma
Rousseff at victory rally, October 26, 2014.
On October 26, in the second round of Brazil's
election, incumbent President Dilma Rousseff of the
Workers' Party (PT) prevailed, with 51.45 per cent over Aecio Neves of
the Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB) with 48.55 per cent, a
difference of 2 million votes. More than
142 million Brazilians voted, electing as well federal deputies and
TML sends its warmest congratulations to
President Rousseff, the PT and the Brazilian people. President
Rousseff's election comes despite the efforts of the neo-liberal
opposition and their foreign backers to undermine the nation-building
project that is making progress in raising the people's standard
of living and affirming their rights. This victory also defends the
project of regional integration and relations based on mutual benefit
and solidarity that are underway throughout Latin America and the
Caribbean in opposition to neo-liberal exploitation and U.S.
interference and hegemony.
Despite her victory, President Rousseff and the PT have
to deal with the political divisions in the country. These are
in the PT's narrow margin of victory -- its smallest since it came to
power when Luiz Inacio "Lula" da Silva was elected in 2002 -- and the
that the PT does not have control in the Congress
or the Senate. Voting is mandatory in Brazil; reports indicate a high
level of absenteeism and
Following her victory on October 26, President Rousseff
called for national unity and vowed to reinvigorate her country's
economy and advance political reform during her second term.
"I call on all Brazilians without exception to unite for
the future of the country," she told supporters in a victory speech,
adding that she is "open to dialogue."
"I want to be a much better president than I have been
until now," Rousseff said.
"Some words dominated this campaign. The most frequently
uttered was change. The most common theme was reform," she said. "I
have been reelected president to make the major changes Brazilians are
Rousseff said her top priority would be political
reform, and vowed stricter legislation to crack down on corruption and
Rousseff said the government would continue to ensure
high levels of employment, increased wages, lower inflation and greater
fiscal responsibility. "We will give more impetus to economic activity
in all sectors, particularly in the industrial sector," said the
Rousseff's second term means another four years in
office for the PT which has been in power for the last 12
years, with two terms under "Lula" da Silva. During its tenure, the PT
has grown the economy and used this growth to expand social
welfare programs, lifting some 40 million
people out of poverty.
Adilson Araújo, President of the Workers' Central
of Brazil (CTB), characterized the election results as follows:
"There is no doubt that it was one of the most contested
and polarized election in Brazilian history, with a desperate
last-minute coup initiative led by the magazine Veja and
backed by the newspaper Estadao and the Globo television
network as well as other media monopolies. Once
again the people were not fooled and were able to discern the wheat
from the chaff, identifying their real foes and defeating them, opening
the way to achieve the most profound changes that the people and the
nation are asking for.
"Averting the risk of defeat by the right-wing
candidate, indicated by polling firms (as well as the positioning of
Marina Silva and the Brazilian Socialist Party), the progressive social
movements and political parties joined in the campaign and militantly
took to the streets during the second round, vying for each
vote. This movement of the activists was essential to reverse the
conservative wave that had already been revealed in the new composition
of Congress and turned the tide in favour of Dilma Rousseff.
"The victory prevented the country from going backward.
Aecio [Neves] would have meant retrogression in every way, starting
fiscal adjustment announced by Arminio Fraga, accompanied by massive
layoffs, economic recession, the end of [proper working conditions and
wages], the undermining of labour laws,
the persecution and criminalization of social struggles, the
privatization of the Bank of Brazil, Caixa Economica and Petrobras; the
deflating of Mercosur; and the subordination of Brazil to the U.S.
"The results of the October election battles are not all
positive. The social and political composition of Congress, which
already was not progressive has suffered a bad setback. It has become
even more conservative, hostile to projects coming from the working
class and favourable to the retrogressive agenda presented
by the spokespersons for the employers. The growth of the right is
also reflected in the final outcome of the presidential election.
"A class-oriented reading of the situation indicates
that it is essential to move changes forward to consolidate what has
been achieved over the past 11 years, to avoid future setbacks and
facilitate the agenda of the working class for a new nation-building
project with an appreciation of labour, sovereignty and
"The path of change is achieved by undertaking
structural democratic reforms, starting with reforms to the political
system and the media, well as looking after the historic demands of our
people and the union centrals in the form of a labour agenda: more
investments in the public health system as well as in education
and public transportation; the end of the 'security factor' (which
considerably reduces the pensions of retirees) with which President
Dilma has already compromised herself); agrarian reform; reduction of
working hours; rejection of Bill PL 4330 (which would facilitate
outsourcing) and the ratification of ILO Conventions
151 and 158, among others.
"Achieving all this will not be easy, especially given
the balance of forces in Congress and Senate. However, it is entirely
possible. The key factor, which is the number one challenge of the CTB,
as well as all social movements, the federal government and progressive
forces of the country, is to raise the level
of awareness and mobilization of the working class and of the Brazilian
people. Only with many people in the streets, will we be able to
achieve the future transformations Brazil is asking for."
Opposition Sectors Incite Military Coup in Brazil
In related news, the PT reported October 30 that
opposition sectors, reluctant to recognize the results of the recent
presidential election, are inciting a military coup like the one staged
Following President Rousseff's reelection, the Brazilian
Army's Facebook account received hundreds of messages demanding
military intervention, the PT informs.
Those advocating a coup appear to be supporters of
Democratic Party of Brazil candidate Aecio Neves, who are reluctant to
acknowledge his defeat, says the PT press release.
With no respect for the will
of the majority as expressed at the polls, some commenters urged the
army to attack
Rousseff and former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
The PT points out that inciting a coup against democracy
is a crime, as Law No. 7.170 of 1983 defines any expression against
the incumbent representative and democratic regime as a violation of
national security and the political and social order.
First Round of Presidential Election
In Uruguay, Tabare Vazquez of the ruling
Broad Front (FA) won a plurality of about 49.4 per cent of votes in the
first round of the country's presidential election on October 26. Since
short of a majority, a runoff vote against Luis Lacalle Pou of the
right-wing National Party will take place November
30. Lacalle Pou of the National Party, received 32 per cent of the vote
and Pedro Bordaberry of the Colorado Party 13.4 per cent.
Vasquez said the campaign for the presidency would
start afresh immediately and that his party will continue in the
same progressive direction. "Ideas, projects, history and results must
be addressed and not covered up or camouflaged. We are what we are, we
are what we think and act as we say we
are," he said. The Broad Front Party will "advance along the path of
social and economic progress" compared to the opposition who will
"resort to the old politics that led the country to stagnation," he
Vazquez also highlighted improvements made under his
presidency (2005-2010) and that of current president José
Mujica, which include better wages and incomes as well as reduced
"[We] will continue to lower poverty indexes, not only
because of our sensitivity for the weak, but because there will be no
development if we don't incorporate all those fellow country people in
the world of work and jobs," said Vasquez."
Meanwhile, the official results of the elections for the
Chamber of Deputies and Senate released October 27 confirmed that the
Broad Front coalition will maintain a majority in the Parliament,
winning 50 seats in the Chamber of Deputies and 15 in the Senate.
President Morales Affirms Re-Election as
"Victory of the Anti-Imperialists"
Bolivian President Evo
Morales, accompanied by Vice President Alvaro
García Linera, gives victory speech from the balcony of the
Presidential Palace in La Paz, October 12, 2014.
On October 12, President Evo Morales and Vice President
García Linera emerged victorious in Bolivia's presidential
This will be President Morales' third term in office. TML
salutes this decisive victory by the people's forces, which will enable
them to further the successes already
achieved to empower the people and exercise control over the economy.
Morales received 61.36 per cent of the votes, exceeding
the 50 per
cent margin needed to avoid a runoff. Meanwhile, the closest of his
four rivals, cement magnate Samuel Doria Medina, received only 24.23
per cent. More than six million voters were registered in the country
as well as Bolivians in some 70
cities in Latin America, Asia, Africa and Europe. Morales won eight of
Bolivia's nine states, including the former
opposition stronghold of Santa Cruz.
The elections to the Chamber of
Deputies and Senate were held simultaneously with the presidential
election. Morales' party, the Movement Toward Socialism (MAS), retained
its 88-seat majority in the 130-seat
Chamber of deputies and lost one seat but retained its 25-seat majority
in the 36-seat Senate. Having maintained its two-thirds control of the
Senate and Chamber of Deputies, it will be able pass the pending
reform to lift the two-term limit on presidential mandates.
Attorney General Ramiro Guerrero noted what he called
"democratic maturity" of the proceedings, informing that the elections
had taken place in an atmosphere of calm and normalcy, without any
notable incidents. This was affirmed by the representative of the UN
High Commissioner for Human Rights
Dennis Racicot, who referred to the elections as a "democratic
On the evening of October 12, President Morales and Vice
Alvaro Garcia Linera along with ministers as well as leaders from the
unions and social movements gathered at the presidential palace. From
the palace balcony, President Morales addressed the massive crowd
Morales thanked the people for their support, saying,
to grow, we have looked over the preliminary results and we have grown
in all states, and in eight states we won the elections."
"There is a deep feeling, not just in Bolivia, but in
of freedom, of a triumph of the anti-imperialists," he added as the
crowd chanted "Homeland yes, colonialism no!"
"In a democratic way, it has been ratified that Bolivia
isn't a half
moon, but a full moon," Morales said referring to attempts by
opposition groups to have the wealthy Santa Cruz region of the country
separate in 2008.
"Sixty per cent have voted for nationalization over
privatization," said Morales. He added that, "It's important to always
debate, to listen, to make
new proposals, to always be thinking about the larger perspective, and
the smaller ... now we are attacked through the media ... it's
important to communicate well." This was a
reference to the hacking of the Twitter account of Bolivian state
television on October 11 and 12, to spread a false rumour that Morales
had been assassinated.
Morales talked about the importance of basic services
and guaranteeing that Bolivia be an "energy centre" of Latin America.
Morales also paid tribute to the other progressive
the Latin America and the Caribbean, saying, "We're not alone, this
triumph is dedicated to Fidel Castro and Hugo Chávez." He added
"We are going to keep growing and we are going to continue the process
of economic liberation."
"Only by being a people that is organized ... the social
the workers... can we free ourselves, democratically," he concluded.
U.S. Criminal Blockade Massively Rejected by UN
Cuban Foreign Minister
Bruno Rodriguez Parilla addresses
UN General Assembly, October 28, 2014.
The UN General Assembly voted on October 28 on
Resolution 68/8, "Necessity of Ending the Economic, Commercial and
Financial Embargo imposed by the United States of America against
Cuba." For the 23rd consecutive time, UN member nations voted to reject
the illegal and unjust U.S. blockade against
Cuba, which constitutes the principal obstacle to Cuba's social and
economic development. This year, out of 193 nations, 188 voted in
support of the resolution while only the U.S. and Israel voted against,
the same as last year's result. Once again, the three small U.S.
protectorates Palau, the Marshall Islands and
Micronesia abstained. As Isaac Saney, co-chair and national
spokesperson for the Canadian Network on Cuba points out, "Since 1992,
the international community has repudiated the ongoing economic
aggression of the United States against the people of Cuba in these
annual votes in the UN. This rejection of Washington's
diktat graphically underscores the isolation of the empire in world
public opinion." He adds, "The resounding UN vote represents not
only a victory for Cuba but also a victory for all those who struggle
to defend the inalienable and inviolable right of all peoples to
self-determination and independence."
Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez Parilla, in his
address to the assembly prior to the vote, articulated how the vote is
of relevance to all UN member nations, "because it has to do with
International Law, which protects all States, whether big or small,
rich or poor, and is what guarantees their independence
and exercise of their national sovereignty, which is the basis of
of UN General Assembly votes against the U.S. blockade of Cuba
Rodriguez pointed out the
blockade continues to be intensified: "It is a fact that, in
recent times, the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed
by the United States against Cuba has been tightened and that its
extraterritorial implementation in all regions of the world
have also been strengthened, in particular through the application of
huge and unprecedented fines amounting to $11 billion against 38 banks,
among them the French bank BNP Paribas, for doing transactions with
Cuba and other countries."
He highlighted some of the effects of the blockade: "The
accumulated economic damages, which are huge for a
small economy like ours, amount to $1,112,534,000,000, estimated on the
basis of the price of gold, which is being manipulated by those who
created the nefarious monetary system currently in force, which is
already being harmed by the impact of
an insurmountable crisis which affects the poorest countries.
"The human damages caused by the blockade are on the
rise. The number of Cubans who have been born under these circumstances
already account for 77 per cent. The hardships of our families can not
be accounted for. There are many international conventions that
proscribe the blockade, including the Geneva
Convention of 1948 against genocide. The exercise of human rights by an
entire people is being impaired. The economic development of the
country is seriously hampered.
"Although our health and social care systems manage to
prevent the loss of human rights, no honest person, whether in the
United States or the world, could agree with the devastating
consequences caused by the blockade.
"Despite everything, our national culture, education and
guarantee of equal rights and opportunities make it possible for us to
be a cultured and fraternal nation."
The Cuban Foreign Minister outlined the many respectful
and reciprocal relations it has with other countries, as well as with
citizens and organizations. He concluded by
unequivocally affirming Cuba's conviction to "never renounce its
sovereignty or the path freely chosen by its people, to
build a more just, efficient, prosperous and sustainable socialism.
Neither will it give up its quest for a different international
order nor cease in its struggle for 'the equilibrium of the world.'"
Venezuela Wins Security Council Seat
Minister Rafael Ramirez Carreño is warmly congratulated at the
General Assembly on his country's election to the Security Council,
October 16, 2014.
Venezuela won a rotating seat at the UN Security Council
on October 16, with 181 votes in favour out of a total
of 193 votes.
Angola, Malaysia and New Zealand were also elected; Spain won the last
seat in a separate round of voting. Each country represents a UN
Regional Group: Africa; Asia-Pacific; Eastern
Europe; Latin America and the Caribbean; Western Europe and Others.
These five countries will take their seats at the
Council as of January 1, 2015 alongside the five permanent UNSC members
-- Russia, the United Kingdom, France, China and the United States --
for the two-year-period 2015-2017. Venezuela replaces Argentina, while
Angola replaces Rwanda, Malaysia takes
over from south Korea and New Zealand will take Australia's place.
Spain will replace Luxembourg.
"This triumph is dedicated to Hugo Chávez,"
Venezuelan Foreign Minister Rafael Ramirez Carreño said in
announcing the win. "It's also the result of the long and sustained
effort of President Nicolás Maduro [who] decided to move
forward with the model for the peaceful settlement of conflicts, which
been so successful domestically."
Ramirez Carreño added, "The historic success of
clearly the wide support that our revolution has internationally, as a
supporter of peace, social justice, solidarity, and respect of human
President Maduro also thanked the international
community via his Twitter account.
While Venezuela, Angola and Malaysia ran unopposed in
the vote, Spain, Turkey and New Zealand mounted fierce international
lobbying campaigns over the remaining two seats, teleSUR reports.
There are five other rotating seats on the Council, but
these do not come up for re-election until next year. Those seats are
currently held by Jordan, Lithuania, Nigeria, Chad and Chile.
To win a term on the Council, rotating members must
secure votes from two-thirds of the General Assembly in a secret
Venezuela's victory comes eight years after a previous
bid for the rotating seat. At that time it faced stiff competition
from Guatemala. It was also opposed by the U.S., which mounted a
campaign to pressure other UN states to reject Venezuela's bid, to
and undermine the Bolivarian Revolution. Three weeks and 48
rounds of voting later, Guatemala and Venezuela withdrew, and Panama
handed the seat.
Thousands of Youth March Against Terrorism
Maduro addresses the youth, Caracas, October 18, 2014.
Banner reads, "Against Terrorism -- Venezuela Wants Peace."
On October 18, thousands of Venezuelan youth and
government supporters participated in a march against terrorism and for
peace. The youth march was organized in response to the assassinations
of 27-year old deputy in the National Assembly for the Socialist Party
of Venezuela (PSUV) Robert Serra and his partner Maria Herrera, who
killed in their home October 1.
Venezuela's reactionary opposition forces, who
in the past have undertaken and advocated terrorist acts, claim the
killings were common criminal acts. However, the investigation into the
has revealed the expressly political nature of the killings.
At an October 16 press conference, President
Nicolás Maduro showed video footage of six men forcing
their way into Serra's home, captured on security cameras attached to
the residence and a nearby streetlight. The videotaped confession of
Camacho Torres, Serra's former bodyguard, was also shown.
The names of other individuals were also announced: Antonio Vegas
(alias El Toni), Fariñes Palomino (alias El Eme), Carlos Garcia
Martinez (alias Tintin), Jhony
José Padilla (alias Oreja) and Dani Salinas Quevedo, along with
Colombian paramilitary Padilla Leive
The plan to kill Serra, according to Maduro, was
developed over a period of three months and was orchestrated by Padilla
Leive, the Colombian sent to Venezuela after the perpetrators contacted
a Colombian paramilitary group for the purpose of finding a
hitman. The plan was set in motion when Padilla
Leive bribed Torres Camacho and convinced him to divulge details about
Serra's home and neighbourhood, drawing on this knowledge as Serra's
Caracas, October 18, 2014
Maduro also revealed that shortly before Serra's death,
there was an attempt made on the life of Minister of Education
Rodríguez at his home. Several bullets fired by a sniper
punctured the walls but failed
to kill the target or the target's wife and three-year-old son. Then on
4, just three days after the murder of Serra, Venezuelan intelligence
received information that assassins had attempted to kill President of
the National Assembly Diosdado Cabello, but failed to get close enough.
condemns the campaign of terrorism being
undertaken by the reactionary opposition forces in Venezuela, supported
in their aims to overthrow the Bolivarian Revolution by
countries like the U.S. and Canada. The Canadian government raises a
hue and cry about mentally ill youth that
it spuriously claims are involved in terrorist plots. However, its lack
of principle and shameless silence about this terrorist attack on the
people-centred nation-building project in Venezuela reveal it desire to
regime change in Venezuela.
It must not pass!
Mass Protests Continue to Demand Return of Disappeared
Mass demonstration at the
National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) in Mexico City demands
return of the missing students, October 15, 2014.
Last week, university students, teacher unions and
others across Mexico joined in 72-hour strikes, blocking highways and
taking over toll booths, government buildings, bus stations and
radio stations to demand the safe return of 43 teaching students from
Ayotzinapa, missing since September 26 after being
attacked by police in Iguala in the state of Guerrero. These mass
actions came in defiance of an October 28 decree from federal and state
officials that only "lawful" protests would be permitted. The missing
students had travelled to the city of Iguala to protest the mass
killings of students in 1968. Demonstrations
calling for the return of the students have also taken place in Canada
and around the world.
In Chilpancingo, Guerrero's capital, on
October 29, members of the Guerrero State Coordinating Committee of
Education Workers (CETEG) rammed a truck into the door of Guerrero's
and then set fire to the truck.
Also that day, a contingent of teachers marched from
their encampment in the main plaza to the governor's official
residence, where they banged on the door and hung a banner bearing a
likeness of the young student and father Julio César
Mondragón, who was killed the night of the police attack and
the next day with his face mutilated.
On October 30 in the state of Oaxaca, approximately
74,000 teachers began a 72-hour strike in 14,000 schools demanding
the safe return of the students. At the state's Benito Juárez
Autonomous University, members of the University Student General
Council took over the campus in support of the Ayotzinapa
training students in Oaxaca also commandeered
buses to visit media outlets including Radio México, La Z 97.7,
Planeta 100.9, and the Oaxaca Radio and Television Corporation to press
them to highlight the case of the missing students and demand their
In the state of Michoacan also on October 30, students
at the San
Nicolás de Hidalgo University froze all activities for 72
hours. Student teachers took over the La Huerta Shopping Center
and commandeered a truck and three passenger buses which they used to
block traffic in Patzcuaro.
Dozens of students marched through the Bacalar tourist
zone in the state of Quintana Roo and unfurled large banners demanding
return of the disappeared students of Ayotzinapa.
Students also marched to Radio UNAM in Mexico City to
deliver a message of support for the Ayotzinapa students, later passing
out leaflets at highway toll booths.
Protest at Mexican Embassy
in Ottawa, October 15, 2014.
An October 30 item in the Toronto Star
indicates the profound corruption of the Mayor of Iguala, his wife and
the police force in conjunction with the local drug cartel:
"Wife of the local mayor and head of a municipal family
welfare organization, [Maria de los Angeles] Pineda Villa was evidently
concerned that a group of students from a neighbouring teachers'
college might disrupt a celebration she had organized for the evening
of Sept. 26 -- the occasion of her second annual
address concerning her charitable accomplishments.
"She had been interrupted by a similar ruckus at a
public event in June 2013, and so she reportedly decided to take
pre-emptive action this time.
"'Teach them a lesson,' she ordered, according to one
"Her underlings complied.
"Now, more than four weeks later, the search for the
bodies of the missing men continues. Meanwhile, 56 individuals have
been arrested in the case, including 22 police agents from either
Iguala or the neighbouring town of Cocutla.
"Pineda Villa has fled for parts unknown, along with her
husband, Jose Luis Abarca -- the now deposed mayor of Iguala -- and the
town's police chief, Felipe Flores. All three are presumed to be in
"On [October 30], Abarca's replacement as mayor -- Luis
Manzon -- quit the post after just seven hours in office, saying he
wished to live his life "calmly and in peace."
"[Last week], Mexican investigators located a new set of
graves in an area called Pueblo Viejo. That is where the students were
reportedly taken -- in a pickup truck and another vehicle -- in order
to be executed."
While the students have not been found, many other mass
graves have been found in the area where they disappeared,
indicating a longstanding practice of mass killings by gangs, corrupt
politicians and police.
Extraordinary ALBA Summit on Ebola
Latin American and Caribbean Nations'
Exemplary Stand to Combat Ebola
On October 20, member nations of the Bolivarian Alliance
for the Peoples of Our Americas-Peoples' Trade Treaty (ALBA-TCP) met in
Havana for an Extraordinary Summit to coordinate efforts to confront
the Ebola epidemic in West Africa. These countries are Antigua and
Barbuda, Bolivia, Cuba, Dominica,
Ecuador, Nicaragua, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Santa Lucia and
In his remarks to open the Summit, Cuban President
Raúl Castro stated that the epidemic constitutes a threat to
humanity and must be confronted with extreme urgency. He emphasized
that Latin America and the Caribbean owe a great debt to the peoples of
Africa, "since in our countries' veins flows the blood
of Africans who contributed to creating our nations' wealth."
Castro said that although a growing awareness exists of
the need to take immediate action to avoid a humanitarian crisis of
greater proportions, coordination of efforts is needed.
Raúl emphasized that the Extraordinary Summit
provides the opportunity to coordinate the training of medical
personnel, offering priority support to Haiti and other Caribbean
nations, an effort which Cuban collaborators currently working in the
region can support. This includes 45,952 individuals in 25 countries,
23,158 of whom are doctors -- 50.4 per cent.
The Summit was also attended by Dr. David Nabarro,
Special Envoy of UN General Secretary Ban Ki Moon. Nabarro read out a
message sent by Ban to the Summit, which stated in part:
"I urge countries in the region and around the world to
follow the lead of ALBA, particularly that of Cuba and Venezuela, who
have set a commendable example with their rapid response in support of
efforts to contain Ebola."
Dr. Nabarro stressed that Ebola is no longer a localized
public health emergency and that cooperation and solidarity are
essential, which Cuba and Venezuela have already demonstrated. He noted
in particular "Cuba's proud tradition of training doctors from
developing countries has also helped improve medical care
around the world."
Head of the World Health Organization (WHO) Dr. Margaret
Chan participated in the
Summit by video and told participants, "You are absolutely doing
the right thing. You want to step up your level of preparedness."
"Last month, the Ebola virus moved to your region, to
United States. Any country with an international airport is
theoretically at risk of an imported case of Ebola," she said.
Dr. Chan also thanked Cuba for contributing much-needed
nurses and doctors to affected countries. Despite the
difficult situation, a well-prepared country can defeat Ebola, she
added. The ALBA countries need to train their staff, use drills to test
performance, get protocols written quickly, get the public and
media behind them and engage the community early to fight fear with
On its own, protective gear is not foolproof, she said.
At the end of the Summit, a 23-point joint declaration
was issued, which emphasized preventive actions such as the activation
of an epidemiological monitoring network, strengthening control
measures on the borders of member nations, designing public education
campaigns and urging training of specialized health
ALBA held another conference October 29 and 30 in Havana
to formulate the action plan, which ALBA's health ministers are to have
ready by November 5.
TML salutes the important example set by the
ALBA countries, who have taken this important and practical stand to
assist the peoples of the West African countries stricken by Ebola.
Cuban Health Workers Depart for West Africa the Day
An October 21 item in Granma International
reported that a profoundly moving moment followed the conclusion of
the ALBA-TCP Ebola Summit. Regional leaders attending the event
met with members
of the Cuban medical brigades departing that day for Liberia
and Guinea Conakry, to battle the epidemic impacting these West African
"At the Pedro Kourí Institute of Tropical
Medicine (IPK), Cuban Minister of Public Health Roberto Morales Ojeda
announced that the new brigades are composed of 91 health
professionals, 53 headed to Liberia, and 38 to Guinea Conakry. As a
group, they average 15 years of experience, he reported, adding
that 39 are doctors, 48 are nurses, and 67% are under 50 years of age,"
Jorge Pérez, IPK director, summarized the history
of the renowned institution and its current objectives, including the
role it is playing in confronting Ebola.
He explained that the Institute has set up a vigilance
ward for travellers coming from areas impacted by Ebola, and provided
training on treatment for brigade members. He presented a
series of photos depicting the strict protection measures brigade
members will take, and some of the safety precautions
they will use while working with Ebola patients.
Following this gathering, ALBA leaders visited the
Medical Cooperation Central Unit (UCCM), located in the Havana
municipality of Boyeros, where all medical personnel participating in
international missions are trained -- a total of more than 50,000 who
have served in 66 countries. Health Minister Morales
said, "The presence of all of you here encourages us to continue
upholding the legacy of Fidel and Raúl, to reaffirm that what we
are doing is for humanity, for the real possibility that a better world
Key Address by Cuban President Raúl Castro
Esteemed heads of State and Government, and chiefs of
His Excellency Mr. David Nabarro, Special Envoy of the
UN Secretary General;
Her Excellency Mrs.
Clarisse Etienne, Director of the
Pan American Health Organization; His Excellency Mr. Didacus Jules,
Director General of the Organization of East Caribbean States, we
welcome you to our country on the occasion of this Special ALBA Summit
on Ebola, convened on the initiative of President
Ladies and gentlemen, comrades,
A dreadful epidemic is advancing today on our sister
peoples of Africa, and threatening us all. A high number of cases have
been diagnosed with Ebola and many people have perished from the
disease in several countries, including two outside the African
This poses a huge challenge to humanity, one that should
be met with utmost urgency. The action of the international community
as a whole, under the leadership of the World Health Organization, the
Pan American Health Organization and the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency
Response, is much needed.
part of the forging of Latin American and Caribbean
cultures, African blood flows through the veins of 'Our America,'
contributed by those who fought for independence and helped to create
wealth in many of our countries and others, the United States
Africa and Cuba are bound together by deep affection.
Over 76,000 Cuban collaborators have provided health services in 39
countries, while 45 nations have had 3,392 physicians trained in Cuba
absolutely free of charge.
At the moment, more than 4,000 Cuban health care
collaborators are working in 32 African countries and, as our Public
Health Minister will explain, they are all joining in the preventive
effort against Ebola.
On October 1, in response to a request from the Director
General of the World Health Organization, Dr. Margaret Chan, and UN
Secretary General, Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, a specialized Cuban medical brigade
travelled to Sierra Leone to take part in the struggle against the
epidemic; and tomorrow, Tuesday, October
21, two other Cuban brigades, whose leaders are already in the field,
will be leaving for Liberia and Guinea.
The numerous warnings and concerns recently expressed
regarding insufficient resources contributed, and the pace of actions,
are a reflection of the growing universal awareness on the necessity to
move ahead promptly in order to avoid a humanitarian crisis of
I am convinced that if this threat is not detained and
resolved in West Africa, through an immediate and effective
international response, with sufficient resources and coordinated by
the World Health Organization and the United Nations, it may evolve
into one of the most serious pandemics in the history of
Currently, such a noble and urgent endeavour demands the
indispensable commitment and dedication of every nation in the world,
to the extent of everyone's possibilities.
We are of the view that this grave problem should not be
politicized to avoid the risk of losing track of the main objective,
which is helping to confront the epidemic in Africa and to prevent its
expansion to other regions.
Following my conversation with the UN Secretary General
last September 5, instructions were given to our representatives in
events convened by the World Health Organization and the United
Nations, to reaffirm that Cuba is willing work side by side with every
country, including the United States.
The modest experience accumulated by the Cuban
health care system indicates that a comprehensive view is required,
along with the proper organization, planning and coordination, not only
of the clinical and curative work but also of preventive measures. An
inescapable complement to this would be the systemic
and ongoing work of specialists who can exercise great discipline and
seriousness in the observation of the medical protocols established. In
the course of this meeting, we shall discuss the practical
characteristics of this issue.
In order to avoid being affected by the virus, we should
prepare ourselves intensively, work together throughout the Americas on
preventive measures, and be ready to deal with the disease and prevent
We wish to submit to the consideration of the member
countries of ALBA and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean
States (CELAC) some collective proposals for cooperation which may help
in training health care personnel and designing and implementing
comprehensive and effective preventive
measures, giving a priority to Haiti and the Caribbean countries. We
should all assist the most vulnerable states. At the same time, we
invite the countries of North America to also cooperate in this
If the respective governments should agree, our health
care collaborators currently working in Latin America and the
Caribbean, could support, to the extent of their capabilities,
preventive actions and the training of local personnel, as well as
In summary, we have 45,952 Cuban health care
collaborators working in 25 countries of Our America, 23,158 of them,
that is, 50.4% are doctors, who along with their colleagues from the
continent make up a powerful force capable of meeting such a challenge.
It's worthwhile recalling that countries in our region
have available 23,944 doctors who have graduated from Cuban
universities to date, basically over the past fifteen years.
Finally, on December 14, we will host another Summit in
Havana to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Alliance, the fruit of
the will of our peoples in the region and of the actions of Hugo
Chávez Frías and Fidel Castro Ruz. We look forward to
that opportunity when we shall examine the implementation
of what we agree upon here today.
Without further delay, we declare this Special Summit
open. Thank you, very much.
Declaration of Extraordinary Summit
The member countries of the Bolivarian Alliance for the
Peoples of Our America-Peoples' Trade Agreement (ALBA-TCP in its
Spanish acronym), meeting in Havana on October 20th, 2014, on the
occasion of the Extraordinary Summit to deal with the Ebola epidemic.
Profoundly concerned about the humanitarian catastrophe
in West Africa caused by the Ebola epidemic, which is considered
by the World Health Organization (WHO) to be a "public health
emergency" of international concern, with the threat of spreading to
other countries and regions of the world;
Aware of the urgency with which
community as a whole, in full cooperation with the World Health
Organization (WHO), the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the
United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER) is
undertaking actions to deal with this scourge
using all necessary resources;
Clearly understanding with concern that the
international resources required in order to undertake rapid and
efficacious actions to deal with the Ebola epidemic are continuing to
be insufficient to confront what could become one of the most serious
pandemics in the history of humanity;
Reaffirming that ALBA-TCP is sustained on principles of
solidarity, true cooperation and complementarity among our countries,
and commitment to the most vulnerable peoples and the preservation of
life on this planet;
Convinced that it is vital to adopt efficacious and
urgent cooperation measures that, through coordinated actions of the
health sector and other sectors, can contribute to prevent the Ebola
epidemic from spreading to the countries of our hemisphere;
Remembering stipulations established in the
International Health Regulation (2005) and in the WHO Roadmap for
Response to Ebola on August 28th of 2014, whose aim is to stop
transmission of Ebola on a global scale and to confront the
consequences of any new international spread;
Taking note of WHO protocols for the prevention of
transmission of Ebola among persons, organizations and population
Emphasizing that it is possible to contain the Ebola
outbreak, especially by applying the established interventions in
matters of health and safety and other preventative measures that have
demonstrated their efficacy;
We hereby agree:
1. To coordinate our efforts to prevent and deal with
the Ebola epidemic, including rapidly providing and sharing assistance
among our countries, with healthcare workers and relevant supplies and
2. To meet, as a priority, the special needs of our
sister countries in the Caribbean, allowing them to benefit from
cooperation for preventing and confronting Ebola that are agreed upon
by ALBA-TCP countries.
3. To immediately activate ALBA-TCP's Epidemiological
Surveillance Network, the creation of which was agreed to at the First
Meeting of Health Ministers of the Alliance held on this past February
25th, 2014 in Caracas.
4. To decisively support the voluntary medical brigades
specialized in dealing with disasters and major epidemics, the Henry
Reeve Contingent of the Republic of Cuba, working in the countries of
Africa. In this regard, we express our willingness, as the Bolivarian
Alliance, to contribute with highly qualified
health personnel to join the efforts of this contingent on tasks that
are required in the region of Latin America and the Caribbean.
5. To establish national mechanisms to rapidly diagnose
and isolate suspected cases of Ebola, taking into account the initial
clinical manifestations of the disease, the travel and/or exposure
history reported by the patient or obtained by epidemiological
6. To share and generate capacity for the diagnosis of
diseases which require laboratories of appropriate bio-safety levels.
7. To design and carry out public education campaigns
about the prevention of and response to Ebola, directed toward
increasing the preparedness of the population and to promote their
8. To provide and reinforce preventive measures for the
detection and mitigation of exposure to Ebola infection and to provide
treatment and effective medical services for response team personnel.
9. To reinforce measures of epidemiological surveillance
at borders, particularly at ports and airports.
10. To contribute to the training of health care workers
specialized in the prevention and control of Ebola in the ALBA-TCP
countries and the Caribbean, on the basis of accumulated experience.
11. To create a cadre of professionals from different
specialties to train healthcare workers in the areas of bio-safety,
including the use of personal protective equipment to be used for
suspected or confirmed cases of Ebola, care of hemorrhagic diseases and
critical patients, who may serve as facilitators and advisors
in their respective countries.
12. To ensure the deployment of all possible health
services, reserve medical teams and the vital consumables to confront
13. To encourage scientific, epidemiological and
biological research on Ebola within the ALBA-TCP framework, and promote
cooperation in this field with other countries, as a contribution to
international efforts directed towards confronting the epidemic and
with the objective of consolidating the scientific,
medical and health independence of the countries of the Alliance.
14. To improve information mechanisms among our
countries so that we may remain up to date on the epidemiological
situation of ALBA-TCP countries, and so that acquired experiences may
be disseminated with greater ease.
15. To decisively support initiatives of the United
Nations, particularly WHO/PAHO and UNMEER, for implementation of the
recommendations of the International Health Regulations Emergency
16. To promote cooperation with other countries of the
hemisphere in order to face and prevent Ebola, and undertake joint
programmes that would contribute to that end.
17. To urgently convene a technical meeting of
specialists and directors of ALBA-TCP countries, in Havana, on 29 and
30 October, to exchange experiences and knowledge, as well as to draft
prevention and control strategies for the threat of the Ebola epidemic.
18. To charge the Ministers of Health of the ALBA-TCP
countries to draft an Action Plan in the light of the proposals of the
technical meeting of specialists and directors, and its immediate
application, in coordination with PAHO/WHO. This Plan must be presented
for consideration by the heads of state and
government of the ALBA-TCP, at the latest on 5 November, 2014.
19. To use all the resources available to the ALBA-TCP
Executive Secretariat to support the agreed initiatives.
20. To congratulate the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela
for the donation of five million dollars to combat Ebola, and which was
delivered to UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon, on 16 October, 2014.
21. To congratulate the Republic of Cuba and its people
for the demonstration of solidarity with the sister countries of West
Africa by sending Cuban medical personnel.
22. To propose that the Community of Latin American and
Caribbean States (CELAC) promotes regional efforts for prevention and
control of the threat of the Ebola epidemic.
23. To continue collaborating with the countries of
Africa affected by the epidemic, to maintain existing cooperation with
those who are not affected and to incorporate the experiences of the
brigades specialized in confronting disasters and major epidemics who
are at work there.
Havana, 20 October, 2014
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