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Cuba In The News
Wednesday, April 12, 2006   By: Juan Paxety

Cuban oil, Cuban doctors, Cuban plans

Cuba and Venezuela get even closer as hugo agrees to help fidel complete an old, Soviet era oil refinery. The MSN story is here. Babalu has more here.

Leaders of South Africa's ruling party, the African National Congress, are visiting Cuba and say they want closer ties with fidel's government. The People's Daily story is here.

Cuba is helping China establish a ophthalmologic medical center in Qinghai Province. The Cuban Medical Services Group will have responsibility, according to ACN.

The Cuban Medical Services group was created in March 2005 as "an instrument for the Cuban government and revolution's foreign medical policy," and as a vehicle to promote “free and/or subsidized cooperation, the training of national and foreign experts, scientific research, and for the organization of the International Henry Reeve Medical Brigade.”

The China-Cuba Friendship Ophthalmologic Hospital, as the new center will be called, will provide assistance to local and nearby residences by Cuban and Chinese doctors.

The BBC reports on folks inside and outside of Cuba who are preparing for the death of fidel. In the best feature writing style, the article begins with the personal story of a Cuban couple who tell the reporter they believe fidel's propaganda:

"Fidel is like a father to me," says Adalaida. "He's been with me all my life, and he and the revolution have given me all I have."

Adalaida is busy sweeping the concrete porch outside the whitewashed wooden shack she shares with her husband Jose, deep in the Cuban countryside.

Jose is a member of a farming co-operative in Pinar del Rio, which like many others, produces tobacco for Cuba's famous cigars.

Although they earn much less each month than a box of cigars costs in the tourist hotels, the couple say they are happy, especially as now they have their own plot of land to grow vegetables and rice, which they use both for their own consumption and to sell at the local farmers' market.

But Adalaida is worried. She knows Fidel is growing old. Like many people in Cuba today, she wonders what will happen to her life and the revolution once he is no longer in charge.

"Whenever he doesn't appear on the television, I'm afraid something has happened to him. When he dies, it'll be terrible for me," she says.

The article goes on to interview Cuban dissidents, mention the 75 under arrest, and talk about US plans.


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