Category: Children’s Health Care
Aleida Guevara: “The Cuban Revolution will endure because of social consciousness”

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Aleida Guevara: “The Cuban Revolution will endure because of social consciousness”

https://communismgr.blogspot.com/2017/07/aleida-guevara-cuban-revolution-will.html

Major abstracts of an interview by Aleida Guevara, daughter of the heroic Comandante Ernesto Che Guevara, during her recent visit in Cyprus. The interview was published in the portal Dialogos / Translation in english: In Defense of Communism:

We talked about great personalities like Fidel, Che, Raul, Camilo. Their personalities frequently overshadow the Revolution of the Cuban people and the resistance which lasts for so many years. Something that imperialism feeds with illusions is (the perception) that the biological death of Fidel and Revolution’s leaders will result to her collapse. How do you comment? 
“It is exactly what they did for the people of Cuba that makes them so great revolutionaries. It is that they formated social consciousness also through their own personal example. For example my father set some basic points of reference of the Revolution. One thing he taught us is when we do not understand something, we have the tast to demand an explanation. Not to be afraid of saying what we think. Always with respect and earning the right to be heard. This is very important. Our young people have this educational method. We have full consciousness of the power we have as people. Because it is something more internal, many people do not know that is like that in Cuba.
It is difficult to understand the level of Cuban people’s consciousness. […] There is a large popular critique and our people have a big powers. They hear us. This is the important. The Revolution will endure after the biological absence of great people who led our people. We endured and resisted for many years, being so close to the largest imperialist center.
 
This didn’t happen due to a handful of revolutionaries. It happened because of the developed social consciousness of our people. The people decided and knows what they want. I wouldn’t like to be in the position of the one who will lead the people after the historic leadership of the Revolution, because of the obvious comparison with Fidel. It will be difficult, but the important is the will power of the people and the dedication by the CP of Cuba (PCC).”
Regarding the changes in Cuba’s socialist system, Aleida Guevara said:
 
“There has been much criticism. The PCC prepared a series of issues. These issues were analysed by the people in every workplace, in schools, universities, everywhere. The people expressed their view. The National Assembly of People’s Power recently adopted the final document with over 1,800 modifications made by the Cuban people. The changes in the first text were made through the popular participatory democracy and that is what the Parliament verified. We are very critical as a people. We have the political education to do something like that. Therefore, what will happen is a decision taken by the people.”
In the question about the U.S policy towards Cuba and how she evaluates Trump’s announcements on Cuba, Dr. Guevara mentioned the following:
 
“Obama “varnished” a bit the aggressiveness of the USA, but the worst sanctions of Washington against our people were set during Obama’s period. He was simply a clever politician and presented himself as someone who wanted “changes”. In tactics, not in strategy. Obama’s aim remained the overthrow of the Revolution. The same policy continues and Trump is simply rougher. He proved that when he made the statements alongside the US-funded anti-Cuban mafia of Miami. Alongside terrorists and murderers. And on that point I must say that not all Cubans living in the USA are enemies of our people, like the members of this reactionary and terrorist mafia. The aim of the USA were always the same against our people. Trump simply returned to the face of the previous US Presidents. We aren’t worried. Everyone knows that our people kneels only to pay tribute to the heroes of independence and Revolution. Our struggle continues. They gave us more strength. Maybe it is even better, because many were “drifted” with Obama. They thought that there was a change. They wrongfully thought that the blockade was ended. Exactly the opposite took place. Obama was probably the worst clamp upon Cuban economy. Our people and all the people must remember what Che was saying about imperialism: You can’t trust him at all.”
 
 
Aleida also talked about Che’s admiration for the Soviet people, his affection for reading and studying. Among other things she said:
 
“My father was always a critical person. He was applying the same with the Soviet Union, but with much respect towards the Soviet people who he admired and respected also for his role in the international level”.
 
“In order to exercise critique you have to study a lot. My father was very well-read. He studied and talked with Mao Zedong himself and he could discuss in a documented way with him. That was an advantage of Che. He wasn’t criticizing without reason. If we was criticizing something, that was because he had searched and found answers. That’s why his critique was constructive and he was treated with respect”.
 
Dr. Aleida Guevara mentioned her participation in medical brigades, where she offered her skills and knowledge, like for example in Angola. This experience, she said, strengthened her anti-racist views: “I am a pediatrician and I saw children dying, while I could save them if I had enough medicines. This is unjust. If a child is black or lives in this planet’s south, does it mean it must be condemned to death? There isn’t any right in this situation. That is why I react in everything racist and colonial and I will fight against these until my last breath”.
“Cuba remains a symbol of Socialism. She proves that with her internationalist solidarity. What makes Cuba special? Socialism and our values. The fact that human is above everything. For example, when the Ebola virus broke out in Africa, the WHO (World Health Organisation) did not call a developed capitalist country. It didn’t call the USA or the EU. It called Cuba. And the Cuban doctors stopped this epidemic which would be dangerous for the whole world. Socialist Cuba taught us to be ready to sacrifice ourselves in order to save lifes and help humanity. And the example of Cuba is very significant, because it shows that if we- a poor people- can be against american imperialism, then every people can do it.”
 
UNICEF report: class divide endangers children in rich countries- including US

By W. T. Whitney Jr.

Report Card 14,” released June 15 by the United Nations’ Children’s Fund (UNICEF), shows that many children in well-resourced nations are developing poorly and are vulnerable. The document is the latest in a series of periodic reports issued by UNICEF’s Office of Research on the performances of economically advanced countries in securing the rights of children. The current title is: “Building the Future: Children and the Sustainable Development Goals in Rich Countries,”

UNICEF established its research arm in 1988 in order “to help facilitate full implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.” The United States is the only nation in the world that hasn’t ratified the Convention, adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1989.

This recent UNICEF survey ranks the performance of 41 countries belonging to the European Union, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, or both. The United States shows up near or at the bottom among rankings in various categories.

Report Card 14 is of interest here for the documentation it provides of disadvantage weighing on children of working-class and marginalized families living in capitalist societies.

The report’s author, Chris Brazier, utilized nine of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) elaborated by the United Nations in 2015, particularly those “with most direct relevance to the well-being of children in high-income settings [and to] income and wealth, health and educational opportunity.” He indicates that the SDGs generally “represent an ambitious effort to set a global agenda for development that is both equitable and sustainable, in social, economic and environmental terms.” They bring attention to “the consequences of wealth accumulation by the richest.”

SGDs are one set of tools used in UNICEF’s Report Card for assessing whether or not wealthy societies are meeting the needs of children. The other is a conglomeration of dozens of “indicators” of their success or not in meeting particular SDGs. The indicators utilize data from 2014 and 2015.

The SDGs and indicators appearing here are those selected specifically for pointing to outcomes for children that vary according to their social class. In fact, Report Card 14 presents information covering a wide range of childhood experience, not all of it having to do with class differences. As a result, many of the SDGs and indicators found in the Report Card aren’t mentioned here.

One method for presenting the survey’s results was to evaluate the progress of individual countries in terms of specific SDGs and to do so through an assigned rating reflecting the combined findings from relevant indicators. Those results are displayed in a listing that extends both above and below the average country performance for the indicator. Here is what some of the performances look like:

 

Sustainable Development Goal                  Top country and rating U.S. rank, rating

 

“End Poverty”                                          Norway   116        33rd place (of 37) 82

“End hunger and food insecurity”               Japan     117        36th place        87

“Ensure healthy lives, promote well- being   Portugal 115          36th place (of 40)   89Inclusive Education”                                Finland   114        32ndplace               92     “Reduce Inequality”                                     Iceland   124        35th place             90     “Promote Peaceful and Inclusive Society…” Iceland   114       40th place (of 40) 58   (The “average country performance” in meeting each goal receives a rating of 100.)

 

The other way Report Card 14 displays its findings is by ranking performance of the countries as signaled by individual indicators, expressed as percentages or rates. Again, performances are recorded as ranking above or below average performances by the countries. What with data for an indicator not always being available, some rankings don’t include all 41 countries. Examples follow of countries ranked according to single indicators:

One indicator relating to “End Poverty” is “Relative [family] Income.” It’s the percentage of children 17 years of age or younger living in households with incomes less than 60 percent of their country’s median income. The average for all countries is 21 percent. Denmark is tops at 9.2 percent. The United States ranks in 35th place with a percentage of 29.4 percent.

Another such indicator is “Percentage of reduction in childhood poverty as the result of “social transfers.” The country average is 37.5 percent, Finland’s 66 percent is the most favorable, and the United States is in 32nd place (of 37) with 18 percent. “Social transfers” include taxation for reducing inequalities and provision of benefits.

The indicator “Percentage of children 15 years old or younger living with a food – insecure family” relates to the “End Hunger” SDG. The country average for this indicator is 12.7 percent; Japan, the most favorable, stands at 1.4 percent; and the United States ranks in 36th place with 19.6 percent.

The indicator designated as “Neonatal Mortality” relates to the SDG “Ensure Healthy Lives.” The neonatal mortality rate is the number of infants per 1000 births who die in their first 28 days. The country average is 2.8 deaths. Japan’s rate is the most favorable at 0.9 deaths. The United States lags in 32nd place (of 36) with 4.0 deaths.

One indicator for the “Reducing Inequality” SDG is the ratio of income share of the top 10 percent and bottom 40 percent of the population in income distribution. The country average is 1.17. Iceland surpasses at 0.70 percent. The United States places 35th with 1.64.

Another indicator for the same goal is: “the relative gap between the median income and that of the bottom 10 percent of households with children.” The country average is 51.2 percent. Iceland exceeds all at 34.2 percent. The United States places 30th with 58.9 percent.

One of the indicators for the SDG “Ensure Education” is revealing. Its designation is: “percentage of children under 15 years of age achieving basic learning proficiency.” The country average performance is only 68.6 percent. Estonia is in first place with 83.1 percent, and the United States ranks in 26th place (out of 38) with 66.4 percent.

The indicator “Child murder rate” (age 0-19), associated with the SGD “Promote Peaceful and Inclusive Society,” also deserves a look. The country average is 0.65 child murders per 100,000 persons. No Maltese children were murdered in 2015 and in second – place Luxemburg’s rate was 0.01. The United States registered 2.6 murders, ranking 36th among 37 countries.

Commentary is in order. Report Card 14 says little about racial oppression of children, particularly in the United States. Here are some facts. Reflecting varying criteria, estimates of the poverty rate for all U. S. children range from 21 percent (according to kidscount.org) to 29.4 percent, as per Report Card 14. But 36 percent of African American children, 0 – 18 years of age, live in poverty. And, the infant mortality rate (number of infants dying in their first year, per 1000 live births) for all U. S. babies in 2015 was 5.9 – 25th place in the world; for African-American babies the figure was 11.4.

The UNICEF report’s most important conclusion for us is that a sizable portion of children in well-resourced nations are deprived, neglected, or endangered. They belong to the single social class of people who work or who are marginalized.

Evidence for their class identification lies in the documentation the Report Card provides of families being subjected to scanty income, hunger, violence, flimsy health care, and poor schooling for children. Affected children live in capitalist societies where profiteering and protecting the status quo come first. Their fate is no accident.

In theory the working class has a mission of anti-capitalistic struggle. Children, however, can’t engage very well. So who speaks and acts for them?

Adult family members and left-leaning political organizations are their proxy warriors. But these parties may have priorities far – removed from those of children. Importantly, children are not little adults; their task of personal development often requires repair measures applying to them as individuals. But any rescue effort has to encompass all endangered children, together. The need arises, therefore, for new thinking.

Preparation for political struggle ideally begins in childhood with education, good health, and emulation of any self-confidence, resilience, and optimism displayed by adult family members. But under stressful conditions like those portrayed in this survey, adults may be distracted, fearful, out of money, isolated, and/or fixated on short-term survival. Incapacitation of children fits with the priorities of those in charge, as they plan their future.

The essential need now is for advocates for children to confront power-brokers and to lead. Maybe the time is right for parents and especially women, and women as mothers, to assert themselves. Children are with women, and women know the realities of children’s lives. They are used to defending their own rights and those of children. Together these rights make up a lion’s share of social and economic rights generally.

Maybe, after all, the U. S. anarchy of tasking individuals or squabbling over this or that single issue isn’t necessary. What if there were one political party offering a whole program of reform – including children’s rights – and an alternative to capitalist rule? Powerful social-democratic political parties – and strong labor movements – have long held forth in those European countries receiving high marks in Report Card 14. They may not have brought about basic change but they did force into existence reforms providing for people’s survival needs. Children were included.

Response to: Nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office analysis of the House Bill
By A. Shaw
Sen. Bernie Sanders  (I-Vt.) said Monday that “thousands of Americans will die” under the House GOP’s plans to repeal and replace ObamaCare.
“I think that legislation is disgusting. It is immoral,” he [Sanders] said.
Sanders’ comments come after the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office found that by 2026, 24 million people additional people will be uninsured compared to under current conditions with ObamaCare.
The rate of deaths is tied to the rate of uninsured people.
If the rate of uninsured zooms up to 24 million people, then the rate of deaths will zoom up to at least a million dead people, not just thousands.
The bill to repeal and replace Obamacare is a GOP plot to perpetrate, at least, a one million person genocide.
USA reactionaries — also known as conservatives or fascists — have been in love with the idea of mass extermination of human beings for centuries:
…….(1) Wiping out  90% of the non-immigrant peoples of North America [“Indians”]; 30 million non-immigrants were disposed of over a 250 year period
…….(2) After the Spanish-American War, wiping out over 1,500,000 Philippines. The Philippines had done no wrong to the USAs.
…….(3) The US imperialist invasion and occupation of Iraq occasioned over 1,000,000 war-related fatalities between 2003 and 2007
…….(4) etc.,etc., etc…
Now, USA reactionaries plot a  massive genocide on the USAs.
Sanders responds to CBO score: ‘Thousands of Americans will die’

Sanders responds to CBO score: 'Thousands of Americans will die'
© Getty Images

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersCBO health score stirs alarm in the SenateTrump flunks leadership testSanders responds to CBO score: ‘Thousands of Americans will die’MORE (I-Vt.) said Monday that “thousands of Americans will die” under the House GOP’s plans to repeal and replace ObamaCare.

“If this legislation is passed and millions of people are thrown off health insurance…thousands of Americans will die,” Sanders told reporters.

His comments come after the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office analysis of the House bill found that by 2026, 24 million people additional people will be uninsured compared to under current conditions with ObamaCare.

The analysis sparked a fresh round of criticism from Democrats over the repeal-and-replace bill and could spook congressional Republicans, who are already publicly skeptical of the legislation.

Sanders said the House legislation “shouldn’t see the light of day.”

“I think that legislation is disgusting. It is immoral,” he said. “It must defeated and I hope there is enough sense amongst some of the Republicans.”

Democrats don’t have the ability to block the ObamaCare repeal bill on their own. Under reconciliation, Republicans only need a simple majority, and they have 52 Senate seats.

But a growing number of both conservative and moderate lawmakers are raising concerns with the House bill.

Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) said Monday that members of the Senate Steering Committee will go to the White House on Tuesday to talk ObamaCare strategy.

Exclusive: Trump administration considering separating women, children at Mexico border

By Julia Edwards Ainsley | WASHINGTON

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-immigration-children-idUSKBN16A2ES

WASHINGTON Women and children crossing together illegally into the United States could be separated by U.S. authorities under a proposal being considered by the Department of Homeland Security, according to three government officials.

Part of the reason for the proposal is to deter mothers from migrating to the United States with their children, said the officials, who have been briefed on the proposal.

The policy shift would allow the government to keep parents in custody while they contest deportation or wait for asylum hearings. Children would be put into protective custody with the Department of Health and Human Services, in the “least restrictive setting” until they can be taken into the care of a U.S. relative or state-sponsored guardian.

Currently, families contesting deportation or applying for asylum are generally released from detention quickly and allowed to remain in the United States until their cases are resolved. A federal appeals court ruling bars prolonged child detention.

President Donald Trump has called for ending “catch and release,” in which migrants who cross illegally are freed to live in the United States while awaiting legal proceedings.

Two of the officials were briefed on the proposal at a Feb. 2 town hall for asylum officers by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services asylum chief John Lafferty.

A third DHS official said the department is actively considering separating women from their children but has not made a decision.

HHS and the White House did not respond to requests for comment.

In a statement to Reuters, DHS said: “The journey north is a dangerous one with too many situations where children – brought by parents, relatives or smugglers – are often exploited, abused or may even lose their lives.

“With safety in mind, the Department of Homeland Security continually explores options that may discourage those from even beginning the journey,” the statement said.

U.S. Representative Henry Cuellar, a Texas Democrat whose district includes about 200 miles (320 km) of the border with Mexico, slammed the proposal. “Bottom line: separating mothers and children is wrong,” he said in a statement.

“That type of thing is where we depart from border security and get into violating human rights,” he said.

About 54,000 children and their guardians were apprehended between Oct. 1, 2016, and Jan. 31, 2017, more than double the number caught over the same time period a year earlier.

Republicans in Congress have argued women are willing to risk the dangerous journey with their children because they are assured they will be quickly released from detention and given court dates set years into the future.

Immigrant rights advocates have argued that Central America’s violent and impoverished conditions force mothers to immigrate to the United States and that they should be given asylum status. (Graphic: tmsnrt.rs/2m4aPAs)

LEGAL CONSIDERATIONS

Implementing the new policy proposal “could create lifelong psychological trauma,” said Marielena Hincapie, executive director at the National Immigration Law Center. “Especially for children that have just completed a perilous journey from Central America.”

Hincapie said the U.S. government is likely to face legal challenges based on immigration and family law if they decide to implement the policy.

The policy would allow DHS to detain parents while complying with a 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals order from July 2016 that immigrant children should be released from detention as quickly as possible. That order said their parents were not required to be freed.

To comply with that order, the Obama administration implemented a policy of holding women and children at family detention centers for no more than 21 days before releasing them.

Holding mothers in prolonged detention could also strain government resources, said Randy Capps of the Migration Policy Institute, a Washington-based non-profit.

“You are talking about a pretty rapid increase in the detention population if you are going to do this,” Capps said. “The question is really how much detention can they afford.”

Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly last week ordered immigration agents to deport or criminally prosecute parents who facilitate the illegal smuggling of their children.

Many parents who arrive on the U.S.-Mexico border with their children have paid smugglers to guide them across the dangerous terrain.

(Reporting by Julia Edwards Ainsley; Additional reporting by Mica Rosenberg and Susan Cornwell; Editing by Sue Horton, Ross Colvin, James Dalgleish and Lisa Shumaker)

THIS IS CAPITALISM! Smartphones made by blood; child labour in Congo’s cobalt mines

Friday, March 3, 2017

THIS IS CAPITALISM! Smartphones made by blood; child labour in Congo’s cobalt mines

https://communismgr.blogspot.com/2017/03/this-is-capitalism-smartphones-made-by.html
It’s Capitalism, Stupid…
 
A Sky News investigation has found children as young as four working in Congolese mines where cobalt is extracted for smartphones.The mineral is an essential component of batteries for smartphones and laptops, making billions for multinationals such as Apple and Samsung, yet many of those working to extract it are earning as little as 8p a day in desperately dangerous conditions.
With little regulation requiring companies to trace their cobalt supply lines, and most of the world’s cobalt coming from the Democratic Republic of Congo, the chances are your smartphone contains a battery with cobalt mined by children in the central African nation.The Sky News team visited a string of mines in the DRC’s former Katanga Province and found children working at all of them.
Eight pence a day for backbreaking work

At one cobalt mine, children toiled in the drenching rain carrying huge sacks of the mineral. Dorsen, eight, had no shoes and told us he hadn’t made enough money to eat for the past two days – despite working for about 12 hours a day.
His friend Richard, 11, talked about how his whole body ached every day from the tough physical work.
The mine tunnels are dug by hand by miners who have no protective equipment. The tunnels have no supports and are prone to collapse, especially in the rain.
At one mine we travelled to, workers had downed tools in support of a fellow miner who had died after one such collapse.
There are thousands of unofficial, unregulated, unmonitored mines where men, women and children work in what can only be described as slave conditions. In one group, we found a circle of children with a four-year-old girl picking out cobalt stones.
Other children younger than her were sitting among the mineral or playing nearby. A pregnant woman already carrying a toddler on her back was also in the group. None of them wore gloves or masks, yet the World Health Organisation says exposure to cobalt and breathing in its dust fumes can cause long-term health problems.
Certainly, many of those involved in the mining industry believe they’re suffering poor health as a result.
Makumba Mateba has a huge tumour on his throat which he believes has grown because the water in his village is contaminated by cobalt mining.
He said: “We only drink the water which comes from the mining sites after all the minerals have been washed in it. “It comes right through our village and I drink it and I’m sure it’s that which has made me sick.”
Monica, four years old, picks out cobalt stones at a mine.
Mystery illnesses

Becha Gibu, a doctor in the village of Kimpesa, said many of the babies he delivered had mysterious illnesses. “There are lots of infections they’re born with, sometimes rashes, sometimes their bodies are covered in spots,” he said.
“The mothers are also just not strong when giving birth – this is all a consequence of the mining.”
 
The DRC sits on one of the richest mineral deposits in the world, with huge amounts of gold, tin and cobalt underneath its soil. It produces 60% of the world’s cobalt – a fifth of which is extracted by hand or artisanal miners known locally as creusseurs.
 
Cobalt collected by small mining operations is sold to mostly Chinese traders, who we filmed secretly. They don’t ask questions about where their cobalt comes from or who has worked to extract it – they just want the best price. Traders then sell it mostly to exporter Congo Dongfang International, a subsidiary of Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt, which supplies most of the world’s largest battery makers.
The supply line is chaotic, informal and unregulated, with unofficial, non-standardised prices paid out to groups, individuals and larger networks.
1 in 4 children do not have access to basic health care – study

https://www.rt.com/usa/367687-children-health-insurance-access/

© Reuters
Although the number of children in the US who are uninsured is at an all-time low, a quarter of children under the age of 18 “still experience severe barriers actually getting access to appropriate health care,” according to a new study.

More than 20 million of America’s 73 million children face substantive difficulties in accessing health care, whether they are uninsured, are insured but do not receive primary care, or are publicly insured but cannot access “essential or timely speciality care,”according to a study released by the Children’s Health Fund (CHF).

These health needs fall short even though the likes of Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and the Affordable Care Act have lowered the number of uninsured children to about 3.3 million in 2015, down from about 10 million in the late 1990s, according to the National Health Interview Survey.

More than 80 percent of insured children still do not receive optimal care, CHF reported in the study. Including the 3.3 million children who are uninsured, there are 10.3 million children who do not have “adequate” access to primary health care and 6.7 million children on Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program who do have access to primary care but do not have receive decent speciality care.

“While children’s health care has experienced increased and significant attention in recent years, our analyses show there is still a long way to go before we can claim that all U.S. children have access to the care they need,” said Dr. Irwin Redlener, co-founder and president of Children’s Health Fund and co-author of the study. “There has been a persistent misconception that simply providing health insurance is the same as assuring effective access to appropriate health care. It isn’t.”

The study’s findings were based on census data, medical journals, and federal reports, as well as the CHFs network of support programs.

CHF offered several recommendations to deal with these issues, with the new presidential administration in mind. To improve pediatric health care, the study said “costly co-payments” should be reduced or eliminated, while reimbursement rates for providers offering care to underserved areas of the US should be increased.

CHF also suggested that more incentives should be offered to health care providers who serve poor communities, while telehealth and mobile clinics should be more abundant. In addition, the study recommended increased efforts in areas such as school-based health initiatives, health literacy, and outreach to non-English-speaking communities to improve children’s health in the US.

“Conversations about health care in this country tend to focus on adults, because that’s where we spend the most money,” said Dr. Delaney Gracy, the study’s co- author and CHF chief medical officer. “Part of the point we hope to make is that prevention and early interventions for children can decrease burden of disease and impact later on, as they grow into a generation of healthier adults. The national cost of common illnesses related to poverty and poor medical access, like asthma and obesity, is several billions of dollars annually.”