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CUBA Offers medical expertise and supplies
by Karen O'Keefe Friday, Sep. 02, 2005 at 11:07 PM

This was posted to DC Indymedia. I haven't checked out its accuracy yet, but Cuba offers free doctors routinely to poor countries and after catastrophies. We should make sure the offer is immediately, graciously accepted (assuming it's real). Perhaps we can find nongovermental transit and hosting.

by Fidel Castro
(No verified email address)
Phone: 202-797-8518
Address: Cuban Interests Section, 2630 16th Street NW, Washington DC, 20009 03 Sep 2005
Modified: 05:46:07 AM

Here is the translation of his communication...
Our country is ready to send, in the small hours of morning, 100 clinicians and specialists in Comprehensive General Medicine, who at dawn tomorrow, Saturday, could be in Houston International Airport, Texas, the closest to the region struck by the tragedy, in order to be transferred by air, sea or river to the isolated shelters, facilities and neighborhoods in the city of New Orleans, where the population and families are that require emergency medical care or first aid.

These Cuban personnel would be carrying backpacks with 24 kilograms of medications, known to be essential in such situations to save lives, as well as basic diagnosis kits. They would be prepared to work alone or in groups of two or more, depending on the circumstances, for as long as necessary.

Likewise, Cuba is ready to send via Houston, or any other airport of your choosing, 500 additional specialists in Comprehensive General Medicine, with the same equipment, who could be at their destination point at noon or in the afternoon of tomorrow, Saturday, September 3.

A third group of 500 specialists in Comprehensive General Medicine could be arriving in the morning of Sunday, September 4. Thus, the 1100 said medical doctors, with the resources described tantamount to 26.4 tons of medications and diagnosis kits, would be caring for the neediest persons in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina.

These medical doctors have the necessary international experience and elementary knowledge of the English language that would allow them to communicate with the patients.

We stand ready waiting for the US authorities’ response.

September 2, 2005
18:00 hs"

Phone: 202-797-8518
Fax: 202-797-8521
Email Consular Section: consulcuba (at)

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Numbers to contact to demand the offer be accepted
by Karen O'Keefe Friday, Sep. 02, 2005 at 11:45 PM

I have not seen anything saying that the US accepted the offer and highly doubt it has. (I presume the US gvt itself would have to accept for visa reasons).

Here are White House numbers to demand that the offer be graciously accepted immediately:
202-456-1414; 202-456-1111

And here are Mayor Nagin, Sens. Landrieu and
Vitter, Rep. Jefferson, and Gov. Blanco's numbers to ask them to demand that the offer be graciously accepted immediately.

Landrieu: 202-224-5824
Blanco: 225-342-7015
Nagin: (504) 658-4000 (I doubt the phone is working. email form at:
ctid=207 )
Jefferson: 202-225-6636
Vitter: 202-224-4623

Here is an article that confirms that the offer was made: 2005-09-03 13:14:51

Latin America shows solidarity with Katrina-hit US


Cuban President Fidel Castro offered Friday to help the United States, his longtime enemy, by sending 1,100 doctors and medicine to treat the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Some 100 doctors could board a flight to Houston, Texas, as early as Friday and 1,000 others could arrive Saturday and Sunday, Castro said in a radio and television address.

Cuba would also send 26.4 tons of medicines.

"Cuba is ready to help immediately," he said. "We offer concrete things, doctors to the site of the tragedy, which is exactly what is missing now.

The United States has imposed an economic embargo against the Communist country Cuba for four decades.

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Message to NO portal site rejected
by Carolyn Birden Saturday, Sep. 03, 2005 at 7:15 AM

A message to the Mayor of New Orleans sent to the NO city portal was not able to go through - not sure if the site is down or overloaded, but no explanation other than "cannot be accepted" was given. Here is the message:

The offer from Cuba to send medical expertise will no doubt be rejected by the federal government, but I urge you to accept it, as we don't seem to have much else in the way of emergency preparedness to offer, and your city can probably use all the help it can get. This is one way to demonstrate the common humanity of all people, by accepting an offer of help that will bridge political differences and directly benefit your citizens. I am a teacher in a community college in Philadelphia, but live in New York, and know how crucial it is to have people who know how to respond to emergency situations on site: Cuba is making a humanitarian gesture, and your statement regarding your city's plight, which I heard in full on Democracy Now!, tells me that you understand the needs of people. Please work to accept the Cuban offer - or tell the American people, and citizens of New Orleans, why you are being prevented from doing so!

Please keep up your good work: your statement gave me some hope that people will begin to understand the source of the problems your city faces. I thank you for your courage.

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True Help Offer from Cuba
by Jose A. Martin Saturday, Sep. 03, 2005 at 7:42 AM 552130 23 nr. 452

Cuban help offer is true, depends on US Gov response.
Yes, it's true!
We all saw yesterday on a TV program when Cuban President Fidel Castro announced the help offer to the US people damaged by hurricane Katrina. 1 100 Cuban doctors and equipment ready to fly today to Houston, TX, and ready to reach NO by air, water or land to help under any circumstances.
I am afraid this offer is being silenced by mainstream media. Its a pity for those who may need help.
Cuba doesn't seek money or propaganda. We are very sorry for this tragedy.

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chavez offers help
by yo Saturday, Sep. 03, 2005 at 1:16 PM

While Bush prevaricates, Venezuela offers help to US poor
By Jorge Martin -
Friday, 02 September 2005

Venezuela was the first country to offer help to the United States in dealing with the effects of Hurricane Katrina. On Wednesday, August 31st, Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez announced that Venezuelan state-owned CITGO Petroleum Corporation had already pledged US$1 million for hurricane aid. "It's a terrible tragedy that our North American brothers are living through," Chavez said. "We have a battalion from our Simon Bolivar humanitarian team ready in case they authorize it for us to go there, if they give us the green light." He offered humanitarian workers and fuel to help. "We are willing to donate fuel for hospitals, for public transport, everything we can do," Chavez said.

But at the same time Hugo Chavez sharply criticised US president G W Bush for his handling of the Hurricane crisis. "As more information comes out now, a terrible truth is becoming evident: That government doesn't have evacuation plans," Chavez said. Putting words to what many in the US must be thinking, he added that Bush, "there at his ranch, said nothing more than 'you need to flee'; he didn't even say how - in cowboy style." He also pointed out that the lack of a clear strategy on the part of the government hit the poorest sections of the population hardest. "We all saw the long lines of desperate people leaving that city in vehicles, those who had vehicles," he said, noting that the areas worst affected are amongst "some of the poorest in the United States, most of them black."

In contrast with the lack of action on the part of the US government, the Venezuelan government was able to help hundreds of Lousiana residents. CITGO, a company in the US owned by the Venezuelan oil company PDVSA, has a network of refineries and gas stations in the United States. One of these is based in Lake Charles, Louisiana, and was opened to give shelter and aid to some 2,000 residents of the area.

Felix Rodriguez, the president of both PDVSA and CITGO who was visiting the Lake Charles refinery, said that the funds from their donation would be directed to aid organizations in affected areas.

According to, sources at the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington DC said that "apart from the million dollars in monetary assistance, Venezuela is offering two mobile hospital units, each capable of assisting 150 people, 120 specialists in rescue operations, 10 water purifying plants, 18 electricity generators of 850 KW each, 20 tons of bottled water, and 50 tons of canned food."

In his statement Chavez also noted the contrast between the way Cuba and the US deal with these kinds of natural catastrophes. Here we can see again the advantages of a system where the private profit motive was abolished after the 1959 revolution. While there are very few victims of hurricanes in Cuba, and the contingency plans are properly organised, in the most powerful capitalist nation on earth, thousands die, most of whom could be alive today if the necessary measures had been taken.

Chavez further made the link between the fierceness and frequency of recent hurricanes and global warming, for which he blamed capitalism and criticised the US for refusing to sign the Kyoto Protocol on the reduction of greenhouse gases.

Not surprisingly, coverage of this offer for help from Venezuela was very scarce or non existent in the US media. The only reaction from the US administration was from an unnamed "senior State official" quoted in the Washington Times as saying that “he was not aware of Caracas' proposal” but noted that “unsolicited offers can be counterproductive." The Bush administration cannot really accept this offer for help which would destroy the image they are trying to create of Chavez as an evil dictator.

Venezuela's offer comes a week after the statements by right wing fundamentalist preacher Pat Robertson, who said on his TV station that Chavez should be assassinated. The Bush administration has so far not condemned this statement and not taken any legal measures against Pat Robertson. The furthest they went was when Rumsfeld said that he did not agree with the declarations of Robertson, but that any private individual is free to say whatever he wants.

In the last week, Venezuela has also offered cheap gas and fuel to poor communities in the US, the hardest hit by the recent increases in the price of oil. "We want to sell gasoline and heating fuel directly to poor communities in the United States". Chavez explained that the exorbitant price of oil is mainly caused by speculation on the part of the multinationals and intermediaries, and that if these were cut out, prices would be much cheaper. He explained how in Venezuela gas is even cheaper than bottled water and that Venezuelans can fill their tank for about $2. According to the Venezuelan Embassy in the US, more than 1400 organisations (churches, charities, counties, hospitals) have already contacted them to enquire about the details of the offer.

This is not the only offer that revolutionary Venezuela has made to the United States people. When Chavez attended the graduation of the first promotion of the Latin American School of Medicine in Cuba (ELAM), he also offered to bring tens of thousands of US citizens to Cuba to be operated on their cataracts, extending the "Mision Milagro", which has been dealing with Venezuelan patients, to a 150,000 poor US-Americans a year. The offer was also to train thousands of doctors at this ELAM school. "We are deeply concerned about the poverty which is increasing in the United States," Chavez said.

The attitude of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez towards the US is thus very clear and has been so from the very beginning of the Bolivarian revolution: opposition to imperialism and the attempts of the US administration to overthrow the democratically elected government in Venezuela, while at the same time solidarity and links with ordinary working people in the United States.

These offers of help also expose the inability of capitalism in the US to provide the basics for their own population: health care for all, relief in case of emergency, cheap fuel for heating in the winter, etc. This is a further argument against those who say that the Bolivarian revolution in Venezuela must proceed cautiously, not to provoke imperialism, etc. In fact the best defence against imperialism is taking measures like these which will show ordinary working people in the United States what can be done and will make them think what kind of government they would rather have: one that puts war and private profit before peoples' basic needs, or one that invests the country's natural resources to improve peoples' lives.

This example would be even more powerful if the Venezuelan revolution were completed and the whole of the economy put under the democratic control of the workers, the only way in which the Bolivarian revolution can succeed.

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UPDATE on Cuban offer
by Karen O'Keefe Monday, Sep. 05, 2005 at 9:04 AM

Cuba's offer, while still unaccepted by the U.S., continues to grow. 1,586 doctors stand by in Havana's Convention Center ready to go to the Gulf with 36 tons of medicine, and many more graduates of Cuba's free medical school have written to Havana offering to join. While awaiting acceptance by the U.S., the doctors are spending their time preparing for their mission by studying to improve their English, and taking intensive epidemiology courses -- a clear demonstration, as if any more were needed, of their commitment and dedication.

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Venezuelan aid
by Artemis3 Tuesday, Sep. 06, 2005 at 11:50 AM

President Chavez said past Sunday that he has asked PDVSA/CITGO to increase the monetary aid from 1 million to 5 million dollars. At the same time Mr. Bush for political reasons ignores our offers to send aid, but we are already helping through CITGO anyway.

The Venezuelan consulate of NO is now operating at the Lake Charles CITGO facility. Anyone who can make it there is encouraged to ask for help.

"Misión Milagro" is a continental humanitarian crusade aimed to cure any kind of eye problem for the poor. If someone needs an eye surgery but can't afford to pay it, you can go to the consulate or embassy of Venezuela and they have to study your case on put you on a list. Each year, 150000 patients from the United States will get free transportation, treatment, medicine, and surgery either in Cuba or Venezuela, and will be returned, completly free of charge.

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