Our April expedition, featuring Cuba’s Health Care System, just wrapped-up. We attended a conference with a representative of the Ministry of Health. The speaker was Dr. José Portilla, a former combat surgeon who served in Africa in the Angola War. We also visited ICAP—an institution that has spent years coordinating activities and fostering relations and activities between Cuba and the United States.
We also visited clinics and hospitals, including the international medical center that treats patients from all over the world—the Frank Pais Orthopedic Hospital:
In addition, we had an active schedule of non-medical things to see, beginning on our first morning at the Presidential Palace Museum of the Revolution, and ending on our last night with our Farewell Dinner at Café del Oriente, located on the beautiful Plaza de San Francisco. A lot happened during the 9 days between these events—I’ll try to elaborate on our April Expedition with future posts.
It is amazing to see how quickly things are changing in Cuba these days. I have visited every 2 months since November, and it is quite dramatic seeing the accelerated pace of change, as well as improvements in Cuba’s infrastructure. Cubans joke about wanting President Obama to visit every month, because they had never before seen so many laborers working so furiously cleaning, painting, and sprucing-up the buildings around Central Park before his visit.
Increasing numbers of Americans are visiting Cuba these days. I am probably going to scream if I hear one more comment from an American such as: “we want to see Cuba before all the American tourists overrun it and destroy it.” In my opinion, these comments do not reflect an understanding of Cuba’s situation and problems. I believe more American money and influence will be good for Cuba overall. There will be many bumps and hiccups along the way, but the situation today is encouraging the Cuban government to lay off numerous workers, while stimulating more private businesses with more individual workers & employees having more direct contact with American visitors. It is fascinating watching the economies of our two countries headed in opposite directions. If things continue like this, in five years, we may see Cuban-Americans in Miami throwing inner tubes into the Atlantic, then paddling south towards Havana with the hopes of finding a job!