Fw: M-NEWS: PRESIDENT CASTRO'S SPEECH TO WHO -GENEVA MAY14TH

Bruce D. Burleson (anvil@quik.com)
Fri, 22 May 1998 13:42:51 -0400


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> From: Bruce D. Burleson <anvil@quik.com>
> To: anvil@quik.com; dad <burleson@dfn.com>; cheryl
<roan_innish@hotmail.com>; bonnie <bonniebrown@hotmail.com>
> Subject: Fw: M-NEWS: PRESIDENT CASTRO'S  SPEECH TO WHO -GENEVA  MAY14TH
> Date: Thursday, May 21, 1998 10:52 PM
> 
> Recent speech by Fidel.  Enjoy.
> 
> > Your excellencies, officials of the WHO, distinguished delegates.
> > 
> > All praise to the World Health Organization, which together with
> > UNICEF, has helped to save the lives of hundreds of millions of
> > children and millions of mothers, which has relieved the suffering
> > and saved the lives of many more millions of human beings.
> > 
> > These two institutions -- together with the Food and Agriculture
> > Organization, the United Nations Development Program, the United
> > Nations Conference on Trade and Development, the World Food Program,
> > the United Nations Population Fund, UNESCO, and other organizations
> > so bitterly opposed by those who would like to erase from the face of
> > the earth the noble ideas which inspired the creation of the United
> > Nations - - have made a decisive contribution to the establishment of
> > a universal awareness of the serious problems of the world today and
> > the great challenges which we have before us.
> > 
> > According to the calculations of renowned economists, the world
> > economy grew six-fold and the production of wealth and services grew
> > from less than five trillion to more than twenty-nine trillion
> > dollars between 1950 and 1997.  Why then is it still the case that
> > each year, 12 million children under five years of age die -- that is
> > to say 33,000 per day -- of whom the overwhelming majority could be
> > saved?
> > 
> > Nowhere in the world, in no act of genocide, in no war, are so many
> > people killed per minute, per hour and per day as those who are
> > killed by hunger and poverty on our planet -- 53 years after the
> > creation of the United Nations.
> > 
> > The children who die and could be saved are almost 100% poor and of
> > those who survive, we must ask why 500,000 are left blind every year
> > for lack of a simple vitamin which costs less than a pack of
> > cigarettes per year?   Why are 200 million children under five years
> > of age undernourished?  Why are there 250 million children and
> > adolescents working?  Why do 110 million not attend primary school
> > and 275 million fail to attend secondary school?  Why do two million
> > girls become prostitutes each year?  Why in this world -- which
> > already produces almost 30 trillion dollars worth of goods and
> > services per year -- do one billion 300 million human beings live in
> > absolute poverty, receiving less than a dollar a day -- when there
> > are those who receive more than a million dollars a day?  Why do 800
> > million lack the most basic health services?   Why is it that of the
> > 50 million people who die each year in the world, whether adults or
> > children, 17 million -- that is approximately 50,000 per day -- die
> > of infectious diseases which could almost all be cured -- or, even
> > better, be prevented -- at a cost which is sometimes no more than one
> > dollar per person?
> > 
> > How much is a human life worth?  What is the cost to humanity of the
> > unjust and intolerable order which prevails in the world?  585,000
> > women died during pregnancy or in childbirth in 1996, 99% of them in
> > the Third World, 70,000 due to abortions carried out in poor
> > conditions, 69,000 of them in Latin America, Africa and Asia?  Apart
> > from the huge differences in the quality of life between rich and
> > poor countries, people in rich countries live an average of 12 years
> > longer than people in poor countries.  And even within some nations,
> > the difference in life expectancy between the richest and poorest is
> > between 20 and 35 years. It is really sad to think that just in the
> > area of maternal and post-natal services, in spite of the efforts of
> > the WHO and UNICEF over the last 50 years, the number of deaths from
> > lack of medical services has been 600 million children and 25 million
> > mothers who could have survived.  That would have required a more
> > rational and more just world.
> > 
> > In that same post-war period, in the area of military expenditure,
> > 30 trillion dollars were spent.  According to UN estimates, the cost
> > of providing universal access to basic health care services would be
> > 25 billion dollars per year -- just three percent of the 800 billion
> > dollars which are currently devoted to military expenditure -- and
> > this after the end of the Cold War.
> > 
> > There is no let up in arms sales, which have the sole purpose of
> > killing, while the medicines which should be provided to save lives
> > become increasingly expensive.  The market in medicines in 1995
> > reached 280 billion dollars.  The developed countries, with 14.6% of
> > the world's population -- 824 million inhabitants -- consume 82% of
> > the medicines. The rest of the world -- 4 billion 815 million people
> > - -- consume only 18%.
> > 
> > Prices of medicines are prohibitive for the Third World, where only
> > the privileged sectors can afford them.  The control of patents and
> > markets by the large transnational companies enables them to raise
> > those prices as much as ten times above their production costs.  Some
> > of the latest antibiotics are priced at 50 times their production
> > cost.
> > 
> > And the world's population continues to grow.  We are now almost six
> > billion and growing at a rate of 80 million per year.  It took two
> > million years to reach the first billion people, a hundred years to
> > reach the second billion, and 11 years to reach the last billion.  In
> > 50 years, there will be four billion new inhabitants on the planet.
> > 
> > Old illnesses have returned and new ones are appearing: AIDS, the
> > Ebola virus, Anthrax, BSE or mad cow disease -- more than thirty
> > according to the specialists.  Either we defeat AIDS or AIDS will
> > destroy many Third World countries.  No poor person can pay the
> > 10,000 dollars per person each year that current treatments cost --
> > which merely prolong life without actually curing the disease.
> > 
> > The climate is changing.  The seas and the atmosphere are heating
> > up. The air and water are becoming contaminated. Soil is eroding,
> > deserts are growing, forests are disappearing and water is becoming
> > scarce.  Who can save our species?  The blind, uncontrollable law of
> > the market?  Neo-liberal globalization, alone and for its own sake,
> > like a cancer which devours human beings and destroys nature?   That
> > cannot be the way forward or at least it can only last for a brief
> > period in history.  The WHO is fighting heroically against these
> > realities and it also has the duty of being optimistic.
> > 
> > As a Cuban and a revolutionary, I share their optimism.   With a
> > current infant mortality rate of 7.2 per thousand live births during
> > the first year; a doctor for every 176 inhabitants -- which is the
> > highest level in the world -- and a life expectancy of more than 75
> > years of age, Cuba has fulfilled the WHO Health for All program for
> > the year 2000 since 1983 -- in spite of the cruel blockade it has
> > suffered for almost 40 years, in spite of being a poor, Third World
> > country.  The attempt to commit genocide against our country has only
> > made us redouble our efforts and increased our will to survive.  The
> > world can also fight and win.
> > 
> > Thank you very much.
> > 
> > 
> > 
> > 
> > 
> > - --------------CE0A1FF8C5C797A5679A9BF2--
> > ------- End of forwarded message -------
> > 
> > 
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