Fidel Castro gave to All Cubans the Human Right to Free Health Care

By Prof. Marcello Ferrada de Noli, chairman, Prof. Anders Romelsjö, vice-chairman,

Dr. Lena Oske (board of directors), Dr. Leif Elinder, and Dr. Martin Gelin,

                                  Swedish Doctors for Human Rights – SWEDHR.research & report

                    SWEDHR Research & Reports. Vol 2., N° 57, 30 November 2016


Several world leaders have paid respect to the late Mr. Fidel Castro, the former human-rights lawyer who evolved into commander of the Cuban Revolution. Meanwhile, US president-elect Mr. Donald Trump, issued the following leading statement:trump-first-para-statement-of-fidel-castro-marked-textLeading para in Donald Trump statement. See the statement in full down below

Summary. This rebuttal by SWEDHR examines the issues of a) executions in Cuba and the US on the argument of national security; b) Indexes of suffering and health care; c) Economic blockade and poverty.                        Although we agree that some human rights were disregarded in Cuba, such as freedom of expression, we think that this statement by the US elect-president also omits fundamental facts characterizing the situation of the Cuban population, such as well being indexes in the important sphere of health, in particularly.

National security reasons in both Cuba and the U.S.

It s true that under the Fidel Castro government several civil liberties were curved down. The Cuban government gave invariably reasons of national security, which were in its meaning indistinguishable from executive orders issued by U.S. presidents in fighting terrorism.

One difference thou regarding the dead penalty in those cases, is that the accused of terrorism in Cuba were taken into open trial –while the U.S. government has ordered summary executions, effected all the over the world, without trial. Some of these executions –for instance those multiple executions done via drone attacks– have resulted in the death of innocent civilians.

According to our study of “Civil casualties caused by drone strikes. An injury-epidemiology & human-rights report“ published in SWEDHR, the US drone attacks had caused nearly three and a half thousand civilian casualties. Because of the continuing of such attacks after our study period (ended 2015), these figures are now estimated being much higher.

Swedish Doctors for Human Rights – Results Table - civilian casualties of drone attacksTo the best of our knowledge, there is no report of executions ordered by the Fidel Castro government in territories abroad.

It is also true that many of the spies, or authors of deadly terrorist sabotages against Cuban people, or CIA-paid mercenaries attempting to assassinate leaders of the Cuban Revolution, or prominent collaborators of the foreign power that financed & trained the military invasion to Cuba disembarking and defeated in Playa Girón, were instead deported back to the U.S.

Further, it has been revealed –most recently by the organization WikiLeaks– the series of plots devised by U.S. agencies to assassinate the head of the Cuban government, in the context of ‘cover action‘.

wl-denounce-assassination-plots-against-fidel-castro us-govt-plans-on-castro-wl-tweet

A legacy of people’s suffering exclusively? Or people with notably increased health standards?

The statement of Mr. Donald Trump also affirms, in excluding terms, a legacy of “suffering, poverty and the denial of fundamental human rights” towards the Cuban people.

Although we agree that some human rights were disregarded in Cuba, such freedom of expression, we think that this statement by the US elect-president also omits fundamental facts characterizing the situation of the Cuban population, well being indexes in the important sphere of health, in particularly.cnn-on-health-in-cybaCNN has aired a series of video-reportage praising the healthcare system in Cuba

Several members of Swedish Doctors for Human Rights, including the chairman and vice-chairman, professors Marcello Ferrada de Noli respectively Anders Romelsjö, are active in epidemiological research, and worked at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm. Prof. Ferrada de Noli, professor emeritus in public health sciences & international health, has also been invited professor at the Medical University of Havana, and hence being able to give a qualified opinion from within.

The professors have presented this summarized epidemiological conclusion on the issue of Cuban public health:

  • Cuba eradicated risk for Malaria, gave the world the first vaccine against Meningitis B – no patent rights attached.
  • Cuba’s Immunization Program preserves children from 13 diseases:
    • diphtheria,
    • haemophilus influenza B,
    • polio,
    • hepatitis B,
    • measles,
    • meningitis B,
    • meningitis C,
    • mumps,
    • pertussis,
    • polio,
    • rubella,
    • tetanus,
    • tuberculosis, and
    • typhoid.

After the Cuban Revolution took place, the following diseases has been ELIMINATED in the country:

  • Poliomyelitis (1962),
  • Diphtheria (1979),
  • Measles (1993),
  • Rubella
  • and Mumps (1995).

Further, the opinion by Professor emeritus (Karolinska Institutet) Hans Rosling is also summarized in his tweet below.


We have asked another professor colleague who has also visited Cuba. He sent to us the following comment, which summarizes a development  of Cuban health-care system:

 “A model based earlier on the comparative than on the competitive advantages in medicine. This is for instance observed in the incorporation of technologies for diagnosis and treatment where Cuba developed a local program principally based on continuous technical upgrading of existing equipment. Due to the blockade and the burdensome aspects it was not possible to acquire new technologies. In spite of this approach the position of the Cuban medicine remained at  top positions in Latin America”. 

The limitations imposed by the economic embargo

Donald Trump mentions in his statement “six decades” of oppression only attributed by him to Fidel Castro. But what about the oppression against the Cuban people’s needs, exercised by nearly six decades of U.S. economic blockade?

We would like to call attention to the consequences of this embargo imposed by the U.S. to Cuba, and that have had catastrophic consequences in most levels of the economy of the country; this has obviously affected the population, hard. Besides, the end of preferential treatment in the export of sugar provided by the former Soviet Union ceased at its collapse. This left Cuba deprived of a vital income flow needed to infrastructures in benefit of the people. In other words, the achievements obtained in the sphere of public health are unique against the backdrop of such economic embargo.

Besides, clean water and electricity for all. And universal free education and healthcare and the lowest violent crime rates in the Americas –despite over 50 years of US blockade.

We think that a synopsis on the legacy of the late Fidel Castro government to the Cuban people should be more balance, and at least taking into account the facts here presented.


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