Middle East Eye
28 October 2014
20 October 2014
Earlier this month, the Washington Post reported: "In the medical response to Ebola, Cuba is punching far above its weight."
While the world stood accused of "dragging its feet" following the onset of the epidemic, the Post noted, the diminutive island had "emerged as a crucial provider of medical expertise in the West African nations hit by Ebola".
One hundred and sixty five health care professionals had already been dispatched to Sierra Leone - the largest team thus far sent by a foreign nation - and nearly 300 additional doctors and nurses were being trained for deployment to Liberia and Guinea.
Cuba's response to the Ebola crisis is in keeping with its tradition of accruing international brownie points via contributions to global health. Back in 2009, the New York Times mentioned that, over the past 50 years, Cuba had "sent more than 185,000 health professionals on medical missions to at least 103 countries".
Obviously, this has created many opportunities for pointed comparisons between the Cuban system and that of its imperial neighbour to the north, which prefers a destruction-based foreign policy. A female Cuban doctor based in Venezuela once commented to me on the discrepancy: "We also fight in war zones, but to save lives." READ MORE AT AL JAZEERA.
04 October 2014
This summer, various Madrid residents met their demise in a rather unusual fashion: They were killed when rotten tree branches fell on top of them.
In June, a 38-year-old man was wiped out while visiting Retiro park with his two young children. A 72-year-old man was the victim of a falling branch in September. As Spain's English-language publication The Localnotes, the period in between these two incidents played host to "20 other tree-related accidents that have injured Madrid residents in central city streets - including a seven-year-old girl … and [have] smashed cars, terraces and other property".
The article mentions that Madrid's right-wing mayor Ana Botella had come under fire from opponents "for slashing public spending on street and park maintenance", although the fatalities have prompted a different kind of cuts: Botella has now dispatched "a team of specialists and foresters to chop down 'suspicious' trees in Madrid's emblematic [Retiro] park".
Of course, tree branches are far from the only existential hazard facing the inhabitants of austerity-afflicted Spain. Pervasive public spending cuts have spelt acute insecurity for the non-elite - a typical byproduct of the process of securing countries for foreign capital. READ MORE AT AL JAZEERA.