dimanche 27 mars 2016

GENETIC FOOD OF THE ORIENTAL JEWS

Much new information is coming out, the latest research on individualizing your nutrition to suit your microbiome comes from Israel, to confirm what American Indians have always believed in: Food is the Medicine for the body.
In the USA, one could say that if you are one of those who did not listen to the American Indians, you can be sure you would be eating Medicines as your food!
So, imagine my pleasure when I was presented with the Genetic Food of the Oriental Jews! The person who prepared it is a devout christian, has nothing to do with Oriental or Levantine Jews, but has a genuine love for the food of the Eastern Meditarranean. The result is a delicious meal, most satisfying to your body and your soul and your spirits as well.
all prepared at home, no preservatives added, as natural as you could get..
as we say
hamotzi lehem min ha eretz...

AROUND THE WORLD IN TWELVE DAYS BUT WAS IT AROUND THE WORLD

Cartographic projections, our planet Earth as a globe and Mercator projection are all imprinted in our brain, with regard to our concept of where places are and geography in general.
Recently I left on a Round The World flight: USA to Hong Kong/Kuala Lumpur in Asia to London in Europe, back to Miami. It does look like a simple continuous westward journey but following the flight path, I realized that there are shorter ways of reaching the orient than go west, in fact it was shorter to go east to reach west! No wonder, poor Cristobal Colon was confused!



On the way out of the USA west to Hong Kong, It was not the polar route I remembered, but we were flying "east?" over Gaspe Peninsula and then skirting Greenland. In fact this is the route taken to fly to Europe. But this flight kept on a steady direction flying to the north of Russia and entering China as if the flight made a turn south and landed in Hong Kong.




Companions on this long flight. The service on board on this Cathay Pacific Airlines Flight was just superb!

From Hong Kong to Kuala Lumpur the service on the Cathay Pacific Flight was once again superior.


The flight from Kuala Lumpur to Abu Dhabi was on Etihad Airways and the service was good. The service from Abu Dhabi to London on an Airbus 380 was at best mediocre. I dont wish to sound incorrect, but the Asian Flight attendants whether male or female were much better than the European flight attendants( even if both worked for Etihad)
But give any of the above airlines anyday compared to USA based airlines where the service is non existent and the Flight attendants are annoyed if you are to request something from them, and the major portion of the flight, they are reading, on internet or playing sudoku. The average age difference between the US based Flight Attendants and Asian based Flight attendants is at least 20 years...and that is a long time  to be doing this work that needs constant enthusiasm, energy and stamina.





Champagne served, not in flutes but in tumblers? oy veh! reflected the disinterested look in the face of the Flight Attendants.
such lacklustre performance by USA based airlines, probably due to the fact there is no competition whatsoever and where investors take priority over the passenger (but their 10 million dollar salaried CEOs will complain non stop about Etihad and its CEO Peter Hogan, an aussie or the verbose HE Akbar al Baker of the Qatar airways). 
No USA based airline can boast of service comparable to the Gulf or Asia based airlines. It comes as no surprise. The five biggest US fund managers collecting own about 17 per cent of BOTH American Airlines and Delta Airlines. 
To avoid the grumpy service, I still enjoy flying, and not just think of getting from point A to point B, my next overseas flights would be on Etihad to Asia and back on Cathay Pacific; and I am willing to fly to Bogota so that I can enjoy civilized service on Avianca to Madrid rather than take a USA based airline from Miami.
The moral of the story is, if you enjoy flying, whether you think the world is flat as in a Mercator projection or round as in a globe, fly an Asia based airline or a Gulf based airline, even if you have to go to a third country to reach your destination.

PURIM IN LA HABANA, JOY OF PURIM FROM COCHIN

 The Purim  greetings I fondly recollect was the one my younger brother Ricardo sent me from Jerusalem in 2009. Two young orthodox Jewish children were dressed in Arab costumes of the Ottoman era
This year, as the Globalization and march of technology proceeds at a rapid pace, I received two Purim cards, the above one from La Habana, Cuba
The second one was sent to me by my historian colleague Prof K of Kerala..
The joy of many Jewish children in Brussels and Belgium and Paris and France was marred by what happened in Brussels just the day before Erev Purim..

we do say 
La shanah Haba ah b yerushalayim
Perhaps next Purim, we should all meet in Yerushalayim!

samedi 26 mars 2016

ALIYAH TO AMERICA.. thoughts after Brussels massacre

From a personal point of view, these past few days have not been the best of days.
I had a most wonderful time in the past few weeks: American Indians, Cuba, Cochin and Kuala Lumpur. And I was looking forward to London, despite having a completely unbalanced inner clock.
Constant travelling can upset ones sense of equilibrium but the friendliness of the people you meet on the road balances that. I have been on the road constantly since March 1993, so this lack of place has not created chaos in my life.
As my late mentor Dr Cecil Helman one said: You seem to be devoid of great conflicts, you go around people who have problems that you cannot help or get involved with them. I know that you get closer to people and sometimes the trains take different directions and one departs without bitterness. One thing is for sure, those who departed my life have left for ever, and that I don’t make any attempt to see them, there is no point, because in my opinion, broken pots cannot be put together as well as the new.
As long as you are at peace with the world, not anxious about the past or the future, content with yourself and what you are doing, being grateful and compassionate, life rewards you with the best, day after day.
On this trip of two weeks: Malaysia and London, I made so many new acquaintances. I give their histories a meaning and in return am satisfied with simple interactions of a purer nature. It was nice to receive notes from Flight Attendants to say how much they enjoyed our conversations during the flight!
I am also a Jew. Not in the religious sense of the word but fiercely faithful to the idea of a Jewish Culture and Jewish People. It was not a problem being Jewish in Australia or England or America, but being Jewish in Europe at the moment is rather polemic.
At a party I met a group of young French diplomats who were so blatantly anti-Semitic and welcoming of the Arabs (this was in 2006), it set a tone for my distaste for France. Obviously they don’t say that any more, after what has been happening. In conversations, they defended that the French would never profile any of “their” citizens and that most of the 5 million Moslems in France are good French citizens. This kind of naiveté has led them into deep trouble.
The new antisemitism of the educated hides itself in anti-Israel rhetoric.
So each time something anti-Jewish happens in Europe, my heart bleeds. When a criminal Moslem murdered innocent Jewish children in Toulouse, it was a wakeup call for the French Jewish community but I don’t remember the French rising up against that. Even Charlie Hebdo, mostly Jewish victims, didn’t bring a softening of the anti-Jewish sentiment.
Now that they are being indiscriminately killed, last November in Paris and this week in Brussels, a lot of noise being heard.
It may be already too late for the Jews of Europe, especially from France and Belgium.
It is certainly too late for this Jew.
I am psychologically severing myself from Europe (of course UK is not included in this madness, London is absolutely my favourite city in the European Union).
Symbolically, I am making an Aliyah to America.
I have always enjoyed my work in America and its proximity to Cuba and that is where you would find me. Yes, I would be traveling as always but there would not be many itineraries to Europe, unless it is to London, Barcelona or Lisboa!


lundi 21 mars 2016

A LONELY JEW IN LONDON

A LONELY JEW IN LONDON
My first long term visit out of Australia, as a Jew and a teenager was to Sweden. Coming from a traditional Jewish community in Melbourne, I was astounded by the liberal, open-mindedness without any historic drama dripping out of their long gorgeous blond hairs of the Swedish classmates and surprised that they had obviously grown up without social obligations (common in a Jewish community). I remember clearly, thinking to myself, being a traditional but non-religious Jew is to feel “abnormal” in this diversifying, globalizing world.
We are good Australians, good South Africans, good Americans and until recently good French, but the complexity of the world with populations of diverse origins made us realize that some of those among whom we lived, didn’t actually share that opinion. Obviously we were not French enough, despite what the PM Manuel Vals and President Hollande emphasized wanting the French Jews, knowing they were leaving France in the thousands. (8000 French Jews migrated to Israel in 2015 alone), leaving the beauty, haute culture and the language of Paris for the safety of Israel.
Timmerman, an argentine writer and human rights activist, asked his mother when he was a little boy: Why do they hate us?
They hate us because they do not understand us, replied his wise mother.
I feel lonely in London as Pesach approaches, having lost my mentor and friend Cecil Hellman with whom I could have discussed these things. Strangely enough, London is the only city I want to be in Europe. The comfort of familiarity from my student days here allays the fear, suspicion and the uncertainty.
Natan Sharansky (who was jailed for 9 years for protesting against the oppression of Soviet Jewry) expressed a view that rings a bell
“I hope I am wrong but this century may be the last century for Jews in Europe”
These conflicting thoughts don’t occur to me when I am in KL or Malacca or Fort Cochin. In those places, I am a visitor and perceived as such, despite looking like a local, but in the West, these thoughts arise from being part of the west: physically, emotionally and intellectually.
I am a good citizen, contribute to the society, a humanitarian physician, I am part of the fabric of the society in the west, but that is not the case in Malaysia, India, Colombia or Brasil.
Yet why am I so happy in those places? There, I am not marginalized but exotic. I am not marginalized in the west either. Two things which affords this exoticism to me in the East: my devotion to Cuba and being Jewish does not carry any social weight in the West.
Sitting at the breakfast room at this lovely hotel near Green Park, enjoying the best of the British, I felt lonelier than I felt at Double Tree by Hilton in Kuala Lumpur or Hotel Equatorial in Malacca.
Cubanidad (Cuban-ness) is a mantle of protection and strength in countries that share cultural roots and language, but the symbolism that needs to be transacted here is at yet another cultural level, it is not found in the elegant silence of this breakfast room, but perhaps in a hospital ward or a lecture theatre of an university where WHAT I am ( Doctor of Medicine, Professor of Anthropology) will be far more respectable than the rhythm of my soul for Cuba or the curiosity of the mind of this Jew.
Notes:
In his comments at the Brown event (where the new anti-Semites chanting for human rights tried to disrupt), Mr. Sharansky encouraged students to explore and claim their Jewish identity. “First of all, always remember from where you came,” he said. “If you want to make the world a better place…you have to be strongly connected to your roots and your identity. This is your source of power to change the world.”

PS Hag Sameach soon and can someone help me find a Seder to attend in Buenos Aires?

dimanche 20 mars 2016

A STUDENT IN SOHO

A STUDENT IN SOHO
Come to think of it, London has been in my mind longer than any other city in the world, even longer than Miami along with Havana. None of these three cities provoke any negative feeling in me and I enjoy when I am there and long with a sweet passion when I am away.
I was retracing my steps. First of course was Bar Italia which was my daily haunt during my university days at London, some of the establishments are still there, but others have been gulped by the march of time, but Soho remains Soho.
Walked past the theatre where I saw Les Miserables for the first time, the Chinese restaurant where I said good bye to my Jamaican girlfriend, Foyle’s where you ran into authors from Africa and Asia. What was amazing that I remembered the restaurants which used to occupy the newly fashionable stores and some of the dishes I had tasted, that memory startled me.
Soho shared the enthusiasm of a student from a neo colonial English speaking nation, of future of reality and dreams, it is as if I always returned to London to find my direction and left soon afterwards. Ronnie Scott’s where I listened to Chucho Valdez for the first ever time with Irakere. I was not longing for those days but grateful for the memories, for London to have become a part of me, which I shared with some people close to my heart. Like London they too remain in my consciousness, albeit scattered to Cologne or Kingston or Teheran. I always think of my dear teacher and friend Cecil Helman.
As students, spending money was not a concern because of inadequate funds but ideas were never lacking and imagination was very colourful.

Yesterday I was in Kuala Lumpur, today I am staying at a nice hotel near Green Park and look forward to the next four days of an important event in my life. Thus yet another hook in space in my heart where London resides.
What a nice welcome by the Immigration Officer when she handed me . the Preferred Traveller card. I thanked her profusely, it means that I no longer will have to stand in line, can use automated gates, much like Global Entry while entering the USA!

vendredi 18 mars 2016

DOUBLE TREE BY HILTON IN KUALA LUMPUR: MY HOME IN KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA

The idea of a "home" has always a vague idea to me, but because of my wanderings, the question where my home is ? is a frequent question I have to face. My way of dressing, as if to purposely confuse people, a man approached me just two days ago, wanting to know which part of Tamil Nadu I could be from as he was convinced that I had just recently arrived from Tamil Nadu. he was very disappointed to learn my lack of connection to Tamil Nadu and became silent.
Cuba feels home but I have to mention that Miami has been present in my life for a sizable portion of it.
So it not where my home is, but where I feel comfortable being and in Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia it is certainly the Double Tree Hotel by Hilton near Jalan Ismail within walking distance to the KLCC, and especially its Executive Lounge at Floor 34!
On this visit, after a two year absence, it was as if nothing has happened. I recognized some of the workers and vice versa and made some new friends.
 Jumawati, an old friend 
Effervescent Khairiah, a new friend. she used to work for MH and her international exposure is evident 
I appreciate a glass of wine offered with finger foods and tapas in the early evenings
 a tasty breakfast for me, fish, rice, eggs and chili sauce with some nice coffee from the machine
 there are always asian food alternatives to the ubiquitous common western food such as baked beans, scrambled eggs, fried tomatos or potato (which I dont eat even when I am in Europe or USA)
 occasionally there is smoked salmon
view of the night lights of Kuala Lumpur from the Lounge.
 A very obliging Shafril, an old friend 
pleasant Hafiz, an old friend 
and I did make some new friends, one of whom is a student at a Hospitality School doing her practicum here, Pei Xuan
THANK YOU MY DEAR FRIENDS FOR MAKING MY STAY SO PLEASANT.
Before leaving for London tomorrow, I will make reservations for my next visit at the end of May when I will be accompanied by two Omaha Indian colleagues.

UNEXPECTED PLEASURES IN MALACCA: LE YIN AND AMIN

UNEXPECTED PLEASURES IN MALACCA: LE YIN AND AMIN
I have been a frequent visitor to Malacca, the historic town in the peninsular Malaysia which has a parallel history to Fort Cochin in Kerala. It was from Fort Cochin that Albuquerque left with his fleet to conquer Malacca which became a Portuguese territory in 1511, subsequently colonized by the Dutch and the British.
This similarity in history was the reason for the attraction to Malacca and my visits could be divided into two distinct period. The former lasted from 2004-2008 and the latter 2008-20012.
During the first period, I was a novice traveler, much more like a tourist, lacking the understanding of the complexity of Malaysia. During the second period, I met a lot of very impressive Malaysians, including the gentle Malaysian ambassador to Cuba, Mr. Jojie Samuel and made a lifelong friend, MCY
During the earlier period I came up from Singapore, stayed at the Hotel Equatorial and ate the Nyonya cuisine of Chef Bong. During the latter period I came down from KL, stayed at Hotel Puri, ate around the Jonker street, visited the Cheng Ho museum, almost always with MCY and friends new and old, Including Dr. T of Singapore and A and I of Malacca.
This time, I came down to Malacca for just one day. I didn’t know what to expect, a premonition swayed me to book Hotel Equatorial. The trip from Kl was rapid and comfortable. The KKKL express depositing us at Central bus station in two hours. I presented myself at the reception at the Hotel Equatorial, recognizing no faces and expecting no favours. The young girl who checked me in was efficient but not friendly (Ms. VP), I accepted that treatment with grace.
I fondly thought of two people whom I had not seen since 2008 (eight years): Miss Le Yin and Mr. Amin, who was the concierge at that time. When I mentioned Cuba, Mr. Amin personally took me upstairs to the Club Lounge to show a photograph of Raul Castro being received at the hotel in 2004!
I felt like revisiting that photograph. I asked the adolescent faced receptionist, male, about the gallery of distinguished visitors, he completely denied its existence despite my insisting that I had personally seen it ten years ago. But he was courteous enough to direct me to the Executive Lounge.
I got off at the appointed floor and turned into an empty room organized as an escape from the noise downstairs. Imagine my surprise when I looked at the gentleman sitting at the entrance desk, it was none other than Mr. Amin!

 It was one of those rare moments in your life, joyous and euphoric, an event so unexpected. We greeted each other, the warmth was reciprocated. It was only natural that I enquire about Miss Le Yin. He grinned and much to my joy said she was the Front Desk Manager and that she would be on duty the next day.

He then escorted me to the Club, invited me in. I sat in a corner enjoying the vista from this high floor of the populated Malacca skyline and the distant sea which seemed like a memory, whereas ten years ago one could have a grand vista of the sea, the Strait of Malacca, from this vantage point.
A young man comes over, pours me glass of Sauvignon Blanc from Chile, and we engage in a conversation. He is known as Tan, from a small town in Kelantan in the east coast of Malaysia. We have a nice conversation about Life, Happiness and Career, while I nibbled on Lamb Kofta and chicken satay.

Soon, Mr. Amin reappears, inviting me to stay at the Lounge and enjoy the solitude. He said MS Le Yin would be at her desk after about 10 am the next morning.
Meanwhile in the lounge, I was engrossed in the book by Philip Roth called Shop Talk, his recollections of literary friends and interviews, the first two chapters were on Primo Levi (Italian, Jewish) and Aharon Applefeld (Israeli). I was enthralled by the depth of their conversation and baring of their inner selves, that I felt proud and happy to be a Jew.
Tan brings a young man over, introduces him to me, Ady is his name and from Bali. He has a Hindu look to his face and he is new to this career, just two months into. He was very enthusiastic and eager to serve.

I received a call around 10 am from MS Le Yin and I packed my shoulder bag and went up to the lounge. MS Le Yin was there, in the company of Mr. Amin. It was an exuberant occasion, a happy reunion, I felt innocent and euphoric, at this small piece of one’s life history, so unplanned and genuine. Minutes flew by as we chatted and caught upon all the news of the many years.

Chef Bong was no longer at the Seri Nyonya restaurant which was a disappointing news but MS Le Yin was in touch with her. Thus I was able to speak to Chef Bong. I had already my dates in May, as I was planning to bring two Omaha Indians to visit KL and Malacca while introducing them to the best model of Peer to Peer Health Care in Cambodia. We will go Chef Bong’s house and she would delight us with Nyonya cuisine for which she is famous. Ms. Le Yin promised to take a day off to be with me and the Omaha Indian friends. It all felt so good! 
The lunch hour had passed and none of us were hungry and it was time for me to take a taxi to the Central Bus station in Malacca to get back to KL. They both walked me to the waiting taxi.


It was a delicious sort of a day, adding a story to the story of life, a nice well lived day. Thank you Mr. Amin and Ms. Le Yin

mercredi 16 mars 2016

AN EXTRAORDINARY FLIGHT EXPERIENCE: CATHAY PACIFIC NEW YORK TO HONG KONG TO KUALA LUMPUR

AN EXTRAORDINARY FLIGHT EXPERIENCE: CATHAY PACIFIC NEW YORK TO HONG KONG TO KUALA LUMPUR
I am a frequent flier on many airlines so for me to make such a statement, you can understand my full satisfaction at the 22 hours I spent at the care of Cathay Pacific CX staff.
What makes an experience an exceptional one, especially when it comes to long haul flying, are the people you come across during the short time you share with each other. I was flying alone but the people at CX made this flight memorable for me.
Just three weeks ago, I had flown CMB 4 hours AUH 14 hours JFK on EY Etihad Airways, made a mental note that the Asian crew were lot more friendly and efficient and much more service oriented than the European cabin crew.
When the chance to go to Kuala Lumpur arose, I jumped at the chance to fly CX (initially I had been booked on an American Airlines flight to Hong Kong).
I boarded the first flight at JFK in New York. It was a good omen that the gate agent, Ms. E H (born in Guyana) was pleasant and as I entered the aircraft I was greeted politely by the Cabin Manager (Ms. BL from Singapore) and then the Purser (Ms. K). The senior purser (Ms. M from Manila) came and introduced herself.
The flight from New York to Hong Kong is 15 hours and 3 minutes long. I had been a little apprehensive as I had two consecutive late night flights prior and wondered the effect of this long flight on my constitution.
All my trepidations soon evaporated, thanks to the three aforementioned individuals. Ms. K was very knowledgeable about the menu, suggested Lobster Congee which was just delicious. Ms. BL, being made aware of my Jewish cultural tradition of not eating Pork products, especially made sure that the Chilean Sea Bass was made available for later. Ms. M was ever present with a genuine smile with a bottle of KRUG in hand, to tantalize my buds.

I rested well enough and felt refreshed arriving in Hong Kong.  A brief visit to the Pier Lounge and boarded the 3 hours 30 minutes flight to Kuala Lumpur. The friendliness was overwhelming on boarding, being personally greeted by Ms. M, a Malaysian from Sabah now resident in HK, who was the Manager of the flight; followed by Ms. S from Penang who was the Senior Purser, look sprightly and young. It took a little while for the young, busy Purser, Ms. J, to spare a few moments with me, and her genuine nature and such an innocent way of interacting was impressive enough. I truly enjoyed talking to Ms. S and I sincerely hope that I would run into any of these six CX people I mentioned, either in one of the CX flights or in Miami or in La Habana!

As a cultural anthropologist, such interactions are precious to me, as I get to know the stories of such a varied group of people in such a short period of time, enriching my life and at the same time legitimizing their own lived lives.
I am grateful.

lundi 7 mars 2016

The HON CUBAN AMBASSADOR TO FORT COCHIN

Nowhere in India, one could possibly say, that the local population aware of Cuba as much as they are in Kerala and especially in Fort Cochin with its well aware, erudite, well read Cochinis.
As is my custom, when travelling I try to be a good ambassador for Cuba, trying to point out the human aspects of life in Cuba.
Kerala which had the first ever elected Communist government, has fostered good relationship with Cuba. The Indian ambassador to Cuba whom I met once was from Trivandrum in Kerala. There is a healthy exchange of ideas, at the official level between  Kerala Youth and the Cuban Youth Fraternity UJC.
During my stay, each day I stop by the IDIOM bookstore and there is always something to discover. I had gone to enquire about Murakami Haruki's latest book and was surprised to find a title TELEX FROM CUBA. I read a few paragraphs and I realized that it is worthwhile reading it leisurely. I am reading it now, while ensconced in the silence of the Indian reservation, and what a beautiful description of life that (fortunately) disappeared with the triumph of the Cuban Revolution. I was also able to get a book on the history of Dutch in India, with Fort Cochin being their jewel.At IDIOM bookstore one can always discover something or other. I had remember seeing an exhibition of Indigenous art from India, and marveled how similar the Gond paintings were to those of Australian Aboriginal artists. A delightful book, in words and pictures of a (now famous Gond artist) first visit to London is a keep sake and something to read to others. 



I highly recommend that you visit IDIOM bookstore, especially the one in Fort Cochin, where Elizabeth is to be found most days to give you advice on books. The owner is Shyam Shetty, a genial gentleman, you may meet either at this or the original IDIOM bookstore in Mattancherry. The latter stocks slightly more intellectual books on Indian history and society.
Fort Cochin is blessed to have so many interesting characters but one I look forward for a long chat at his office is Mr W. A combination of curiosity about the world, insatiable appetite for the printed page and genial as always, but I was given a glimpse into his spiritual nature. We had a nice conversation about Native Americans.
They are all curious about Cuba and of course their curiosity is not tinged with politics (like in the USA and thus highly biased). They are able to appreciate the human nature of Cuba and Cubans.
I recently wrote to the Cuban(not Honourary but Official) Ambassador in New Delhi to prepare himself for a warm welcome when he visits Fort Cochin in the course of his tour of duty.
My recent visit to Fort Cochin was just superb ..a most "cuban" experience.

dimanche 6 mars 2016

CUBA IS THE FUTURE FOR LATIN AMERICA AND PERHAPS THE WORLD

CUBA IS THE FUTURE FOR LATIN AMERICA AND PERHAPS THE WORLD
On my way out of Cuba, from La Habana, on COPA airlines flight to Panama, I wanted to overcome the rising nostalgia for our island by recalling the best the Cuban society has to offer.
What is good about any society, whether it is USA (the innovation) or France(passion for ideals) never make news but the bad characteristics of the society is what is bandied about, catches people’s attention.(arrogance in case of the French, ignorance of the world in case of the Americans)
It is easier to find criticism of Cuba, in press or in private conversations in Latin America and USA but the characteristics that has given happiness to 11 million inhabitants is never even discussed and most people are ignorant of them, unless they have visited or lived(in my case) in the island.

I can say without any hesitation that living in Cuba or experiencing Cuba is an excellent when human characteristics are taken into account. In this regard Cuba is a more developed country than any other in the Americas including USA and Canada.
First, the entire population is literate, and there is a high participation in cultural events-Dance, Theatre, Cinema, Books, and Jazz to give just a few things constantly available to the population.
To make the population literate, there has to be adequate schools, teachers, and higher education centers. Without any doubt, the Cuban population is the most educated one in all of the Americas. To keep this educated population healthy (and aware of health) there is an array of health care centres, village clinics, polyclinics, higher Institutes and hospitals.
I am sure the richer countries also could claim the above, but they cannot claim to do so, at a lower cost, at a universal level and more importantly while contributing to the health, education and literacy of millions of people around the world. Can you name a single rich country which sends thousands of primary care physicians to poorer countries to improve the health of the local population? Brazil is much much richer than Cuba, but 14,500 Cuban doctors work in the clinics in all through the length and breadth of Brazil, as part of Cuba’s determination to bring health to the rest of the world. Can you name me a single rich country which brings thousands of poor students from all over the developing world to give them a professional education, yes in the thousands? 23 000 studying Medicine alone! From Easter Island, from Tuvalu, from almost every country in Africa and the Americas including members of marginalized populations of the USA. Add to the above numbers, those studying Engineering, Agriculture, and Education etc etc etc.
All these are done at a governmental level, but the effect of it is felt at the village level. I have been received gratefully by rural native populations in villages bordering the tepuis in Venezuela, on the edge of deserts in Namibia or in the lush island of Zanzibar. Without Cuba, no doctors, chime in the residents of Accra, Ghana. Cuba’s fast responding team have reached earthquake zones in Pakistan, Haiti and Salvador in days and set up field hospitals and construction teams. Unselfish dedication is how the world saw the dedication of Cuban professionals in combating Ebola crisis in West Africa. Because of these humanitarian actions of Cuba, the government of Cuba has far more influence in Africa and Latin America than the size and the small population of the island would dictate as they have direct contact with movers and shakers of each of these countries, and not with the businessmen or exploiters of their own peoples.
The richness or wealth of the country varies with the centuries and universalization of merchandise and its demand. Sugar was once king and many countries profited by its export. Currently manufactured goods are at a premium, and as can be seen by the wane of the Chinese Economy, very soon the premium would shift to knowledge and the ability to transfer it would be mark of the wealth of the country. Cuba has prepared to get ready for that moment and waiting for it to arrive, once that moment arrives, Cuba would be the “richest” country in the Americas!

So far I have detailed the structural aspects of the good things about the Cuban society but not the qualitative aspects of the society.
Solidarity would be on the top of the list. Anyone who has lived in the island can testify that the structural goodness of the society as defined by the ideology, has seeped into the population at large and has made the Cubans in the island the most giving of themselves of any population in the Americas. Helping one another comes naturally to the Cubans in the island and selfishness is frowned upon. This is to be differentiated from Charity, giving of money to causes, in which USA tops all other rich countries.

Until recently there had been a psychological pressure on Cubans who wanted to see the world. Now they can travel or work abroad and return to the island, grateful for the chance to visit and at the same time to return to the island.

It may come as a surprise to many who recollect the Cuban emigration of the past(usually one way) that the recent opening of diplomatic relationship with USA has encouraged travel to and from the island, many Cubans taking advantage of this thaw to travel. A good friend of mine who works for Immigration/Security at the Miami airport is astounded how quickly the Cuban tourism to Miami has increased, as many of the newly allowed businessmen are travelling to Miami to replenish the goods and services in Cuba. On my flight to Panama, a family seated near were going on a week holiday to Mexico City, something unheard of just a few months ago! Like all other countries whether it is India or China; Guatemala or Honduras; Nigeria or South Africa, a small proportion of the population would emigrate for economic reasons, illegal migration from Cuba is one of the lowest of any of the above countries mentioned. (Of the 69 000 doctors and health professionals working abroad, 4-5% do not return, purely economic emigrants)
I am an Endocrinologist and a traveler and I can fairly safely compare the quality of services Endocrine and Psychological services offered to the patients at the National Institute of Endocrinology to any other country of similar economic development and there is no comparison at all. In most of the countries of the Americas, a visit to the Endocrinologist or a Psychologist is a luxury beyond the means of working class people. This is especially true of population outside bigger cities.
As one Cuban professor of Endocrinologist said to me, once a patient with a chronic condition enters an institute, he/she is followed diligently for the course of not only of the illness also for the rest of their lives. Treatment is offered and followed up by the neighbourhood clinics and primary care doctors, once in a while the patient returns to the Institute, regardless of where he/she lives in the island for the validation of clinical status. Everything is offered free of charge, of course, including the transportation to the tertiary hospitals.
Currently with Zika virus raging in certain countries in Americas, our colleagues in Brasil are surprised that they didn’t have public health measures in place for eradication of the mosquito in populated areas, such as happens with brigades of inspectors visiting each home to check for the presence of aedes egypti mosquito.
While extolling the successes in the health and education sectors, I am not an apologist for the economic failures of the politicians. Francois Hollande, the President of France, a nation of literates and intellectuals, welcoming President Raul Castro to Paris, correctly prognosticated: The entry into Latin America in Business or Culture has to be through Cuba.
Unlike other countries in the region, Cuba took a different route to development. Almost all countries in the region put their emphasis on Economic development (which created some disparities as well) before Humanistic development. As one sees in the richer countries, an industry has sprung up about how to become Human, how to be happy, content and compassionate and these too have socioeconomic dimensions.
Cuba has achieved what USA or France or China or India or South Africa has not achieved, a humanistic society. And now that economic opportunities are opening, it can look forward to the material benefits enjoyed by some of the above populations as well.
This is not a metaphor but an indication of what is happening. Mr. G who was sitting next to me on that flight to Panama City is spearheading the future Cuban traveler. He is an Engineer, 50 years old, was going on a holiday. To many it may seem a fable, but I witness this universality of Cuban character-love for Cuba, ingenuity, making it happen using his skills in another country, while enjoying the benefits of being a Cuban, He has business interests in Havana as well as Rio de Janeiro in Brasil where he maintains a residence as well. He still has Cuban citizenship and all that entitles him, and he has the right to travel where he pleases including the USA, because of his hard work he has demonstrated his business acumen and reliability. His son attends medical school in Havana. For Mr. G both Havana and Rio de Janeiro are never too far away from his mind and body.
I realize that the wealth of Cuba is exportable, transportable and more importantly renewable. Mr. G goes to Brasil, shares his knowledge for which he is paid handsomely, returns to Cuba to invest in businesses that employ other Cubans while enjoying the benefits of being a Cuban in Cuba (Many Cubans find out far too late, in their hurry to emigrate, that there are some very inherent benefits of being Cubans, which other alluring countries cannot provide). Talking to him, I realized that the clue to his success is his fidelity to Cuban values and living them-the humanistic values he learned as a Cuban growing up and being educated in Cuba
I see many more Mr. G’s. No need to emigrate but be part of the export-human values and knowledge to other countries, invest in Cuba, once again to nurture the same values that made you the person you are!!
I envision an organized structure through which Cuba could funnel the investment for a better Latin America. Investors could base themselves in Havana, partner themselves with the Cuban Knowledge, expertise and Industry and export that package, tinged with the humanistic values that gave rise to such a high level of knowledge, to better the quality of life for the fellow Americans.

In return, all Cubans will benefit. There will be no psychological pressure to emigrate,
It sounds like the dreams of the planners of 60 years ago are beginning to come true through the results of the action and outcomes of that dream.
Hasta la Victoria siempre!


TRANSLATED INTO SPANISH BY GOOGLE TRANSLATE AND NOT EDITED BY ME.

CUBA ES EL FUTURO PARA AMÉRICA LATINA Y tal vez el mundo
Al salir de Cuba, de La Habana, en el vuelo de aerolíneas COPA a Panamá, quería superar la nostalgia creciente de nuestra isla recordando lo mejor de la sociedad cubana tiene que ofrecer.

Lo que es bueno acerca de cualquier sociedad, si se trata de EE.UU. (la innovación) o Francia (pasión por los ideales) no son noticia, pero las malas características de la sociedad es lo que se barajando, capta la atención de la gente. (Arrogancia en el caso de los franceses, la ignorancia del mundo en el caso de los estadounidenses)
Es más fácil encontrar críticas a Cuba, en prensa o en conversaciones privadas de América Latina y EE.UU. pero las características que ha dado felicidad a los 11 millones de habitantes ni siquiera se discute y la mayoría de las personas son ignorantes de ellos, a menos que hayan visitado o vivido ( en mi caso) en la isla.
Puedo decir sin ninguna duda que la vida en Cuba o experimentar Cuba es un excelente cuando se tienen en cuenta las características humanas. En este sentido Cuba es un país más desarrollado que cualquier otro en el continente americano, incluyendo EE.UU. y Canadá.

En primer lugar, toda la población sabe leer y escribir, y hay una alta participación en eventos culturales-danza, teatro, cine, libros y Jazz para dar sólo un par de cosas constantemente disponibles para la población.
Para hacer que la población sabe leer y escribir, tiene que haber suficientes escuelas, los maestros y los centros de educación superior. Sin lugar a dudas, la población cubana es la más educada en todas las Américas. Para mantener esta población educada sana (y conscientes de la salud) hay una serie de centros de salud, clínicas rurales, policlínicos, institutos superiores y hospitales.
Estoy seguro de que los países más ricos también podrían reclamar el anterior, pero no puedo decir que hacerlo, a un costo más bajo, a nivel universal y lo más importante al tiempo que contribuye a la salud, la educación y la alfabetización de millones de personas en todo el mundo. ¿Puede usted nombrar un único país rico que envía miles de médicos de atención primaria a los países más pobres para mejorar la salud de la población local? Brasil es mucho más rica que Cuba, pero 14.500 médicos cubanos trabajan en las clínicas en todo el largo y ancho de Brasil, como parte de la determinación de Cuba para llevar salud al resto del mundo. ¿Me puede nombrar a un solo país rico, que atrae a miles de estudiantes pobres de todo el mundo en desarrollo para darles una educación profesional, sí en los miles? 23 000 estudiando medicina solo! Desde la isla de Pascua, desde Tuvalu, desde casi todos los países de África y América, incluyendo a los miembros de las poblaciones marginadas de los EE.UU.. Añadir a los números anteriores, los que estudian Ingeniería, Agricultura y Educación, etc, etc, etc.
Todo esto se hace a nivel gubernamental, pero el efecto de que se hace sentir en las aldeas. He sido recibido con gratitud por las poblaciones nativas rurales en los pueblos limítrofes de los tepuyes en Venezuela, en el borde de los desiertos de Namibia o en la exuberante isla de Zanzíbar. Sin Cuba, ni médicos, carillón de los residentes de Accra, Ghana. equipo de respuesta rápida de Cuba han llegado a las zonas de terremotos en Pakistán, Haití y Salvador, en días y establecer hospitales de campaña y equipos de construcción. dedicación desinteresada es la forma en que el mundo vio la dedicación de los profesionales cubanos en la lucha contra la crisis de Ébola en África Occidental. Debido a estas acciones humanitarias de Cuba, el gobierno de Cuba tiene mucho más influencia en África y América Latina que el tamaño y la pequeña población de la isla dictaría ya que tienen contacto directo con los que mueven los hilos de cada uno de estos países, y no con los hombres de negocios o explotadores de sus propios pueblos.

La riqueza o la riqueza del país varía con los siglos y universalización de la mercancía y su demanda. El azúcar fue países vez rey y muchos se aprovecharon de su exportación. bienes fabricados actualmente son un bien escaso, y como puede verse por la decadencia de la economía china, muy pronto la prima se desplazaría hacia el conocimiento y la capacidad de transferir sería signo de la riqueza del país. Cuba ha preparado para estar listo para ese momento y esperar a que llegue, una vez que llegue ese momento, Cuba sería el país más "rico" en las Américas!
Hasta ahora he detallado los aspectos estructurales de las cosas buenas de la sociedad cubana, pero no los aspectos cualitativos de la sociedad.

La solidaridad sería en la parte superior de la lista. Cualquiera que haya vivido en la isla puede dar fe de que la bondad estructural de la sociedad tal como se define por la ideología, se ha filtrado en la población en general y ha hecho los cubanos en la isla más de donación de sí mismos de cualquier población de las Américas. Ayudándose unos a otros es algo natural para los cubanos en la isla y el egoísmo es mal visto. Esto es para ser diferenciada de la Caridad, dando dinero a las causas, en el que EE.UU. Tops Todos los otros países ricos.
Hasta hace poco no había habido una presión psicológica sobre los cubanos que quería ver el mundo. Ahora pueden viajar o trabajar en el extranjero y regresar a la isla, agradecido por la oportunidad de visitar y al mismo tiempo para regresar a la isla.

Puede venir como una sorpresa para muchos que recoleta la emigración cubana del pasado (por lo general sólo ida) que la reciente apertura de relaciones diplomáticas con EE.UU. ha alentado a los viajes hacia y desde la isla, muchos cubanos que se aprovechan de esta deshielo para viajar. Un buen amigo mío que trabaja para la Inmigración / Seguridad en el aeropuerto de Miami se sorprende lo rápido que el turismo cubano en Miami se ha incrementado, ya que muchos de los hombres de negocios recién autorizados están viajando a Miami para reponer los bienes y servicios en Cuba. En mi vuelo a Panamá, una familia sentados cerca estaban pasando una semana de vacaciones a la ciudad de México, algo inaudito hace unos pocos meses! Al igual que todos los demás países si se trata de la India o China; Guatemala u Honduras; Nigeria o Sudáfrica, una pequeña proporción de la población que emigrar por razones económicas, la emigración ilegal desde Cuba es uno de los más bajos de cualquiera de los países mencionados anteriormente. (De los 69 000 médicos y profesionales de la salud que trabajan en el extranjero, 4-5% no regreso, los emigrantes puramente económicos)

Soy un endocrinólogo y un viajero y bastante segura que se puede comparar la calidad de los servicios de Endocrinología y Servicios psicológicos que se ofrecen a los pacientes del Instituto Nacional de Endocrinología a cualquier otro país de desarrollo económico similar y no hay comparación en absoluto. En la mayoría de los países de las Américas, una visita al endocrinólogo o un psicólogo es un lujo al alcance de la clase trabajadora. Esto es especialmente cierto de la población fuera de las ciudades más grandes.

Como un profesor cubano de endocrinólogo me dijo una vez que un paciente con una enfermedad crónica entra en un instituto, él / ella es seguida con diligencia acerca del curso de no sólo de la enfermedad también para el resto de sus vidas. Aquí se tratan y seguido por las clínicas de barrio y los médicos de atención primaria, de vez en cuando el paciente vuelve al Instituto, independientemente del lugar donde él / ella vive en la isla para la validación del estado clínico. Todo se ofrece de forma gratuita, por supuesto, incluyendo el transporte a los hospitales de tercer nivel.
En la actualidad con el virus Zika estragos en algunos países de América, nuestros colegas en Brasil se sorprenden de que no tenían medidas de salud pública en el lugar para la erradicación del mosquito en zonas pobladas, como sucede con las brigadas de inspectores visitar cada casa para comprobar si hay la presencia de mosquitos Aedes Egypti.
Exaltando los éxitos en los sectores de salud y educación, no soy un apologista de los fracasos económicos de los políticos. Francois Hollande, el presidente de Francia, una nación de analfabetos e intelectuales, la bienvenida al Presidente Raúl Castro a París, correctamente pronosticado: La entrada en América Latina en los negocios o la cultura tiene que ser a través de Cuba.
A diferencia de otros países de la región, Cuba tomó una ruta diferente para el desarrollo. Casi todos los países de la región ponen su énfasis en el desarrollo económico (que creó algunas disparidades también) antes del desarrollo humanístico. Como se ve en los países más ricos, una industria ha surgido acerca de cómo ser humano, como ser feliz, contenido y compasiva y estos también tienen dimensiones socioeconómicas.
Cuba ha logrado lo que no ha logrado EE.UU., Francia o China o la India o África del Sur, una sociedad humanista. Y ahora que las oportunidades económicas se están abriendo, se puede mirar hacia adelante a los beneficios materiales que gozan algunas de las poblaciones más arriba así.
Esto no es una metáfora, sino una indicación de lo que está sucediendo. Mr. G, que estaba sentado a mi lado en ese vuelo a la Ciudad de Panamá está a la vanguardia del futuro que viaja cubana. Él es un ingeniero, de 50 años de edad, se va de vacaciones. Para muchos puede parecer una fábula, pero presenciar esta universalidad del personaje-amor Cubana de Cuba, el ingenio, hacer que suceda utilizando sus habilidades en otro país, mientras disfruta de las ventajas de ser un cubano, Él tiene intereses comerciales en La Habana, así como Río de Janeiro en Brasil donde mantiene una residencia también. Todavía tiene la ciudadanía cubana y todo lo que le da derecho, y tiene el derecho de viajar a donde le plazca incluidos los EE.UU., debido a su duro trabajo que ha demostrado su visión para los negocios y la fiabilidad. Su hijo asiste a la escuela de medicina en La Habana. Para el Sr. G La Habana y Río de Janeiro no están demasiado lejos de su mente y el cuerpo.
Me doy cuenta de que la riqueza de Cuba es exportable, transportable y lo más importante renovable. Mr. G va a Brasil, comparte su conocimiento para que se le paga generosamente, vuelve a Cuba para invertir en las empresas que emplean otros cubanos mientras disfruta de las ventajas de ser un cubano en Cuba (Muchos cubanos averiguar demasiado tarde, en su prisa a emigrar, que hay algunos beneficios muy inherentes de ser cubanos, que otros países no pueden proporcionar seductor). Hablando con él, me di cuenta de que la clave de su éxito es su fidelidad a los valores cubanos y vivir ellos-los valores humanísticos que aprendió como cubano crecer y ser educado en Cuba
Veo muchos más Sr. G. No hay necesidad de emigrar, pero ser parte de los valores de exportación-humano y el conocimiento de otros países, invertir en Cuba, una vez más, para nutrir los mismos valores que se hicieron de la persona que eres !!
Preveo una estructura organizada a través del cual Cuba podría canalizar la inversión para una mejor América Latina. Los inversores podrían basarse en La Habana, socio a sí mismos con el conocimiento de Cuba, experiencia e Industria y exportar ese paquete, teñida con los valores humanísticos que dieron lugar a un alto nivel de conocimiento tales, para mejorar la calidad de vida de los compatriotas.
A cambio, todos los cubanos se beneficiarán. No habrá ninguna presión psicológica a emigrar,
Suena como los sueños de los planificadores de hace 60 años están empezando a hacerse realidad a través de los resultados de la acción y los resultados de ese sueño.
Hasta la victoria siempre!