!! History Commons Alert, Exciting News

Profile: Cuba

Cuba was a participant or observer in the following events:

The Federation of Cuban Women (Federacion de Mujeres Cubanas, FMC) is founded to promote gender equality and the full integration of women into the economic, political, social, and cultural life of Cuba. [Partido Comunista de Cuba, 7/29/2006; Cuban Education Tours, 7/29/2006] The FMC, a non-governmental organization, will liaison with the Cuban government through the People’s Health Commissions to promote women’s health. [Feinsilver, 1993, pp. 32] Some of the organization’s members will serve as brigadistas sanitarias (health brigade members), helping polyclinic (see 1964 and after) nurses provide women with first aid, injections, and general health information. They are also responsible for seeing that all women in their district regularly have pap smears, and that all pregnant women do not skip any of their prenatal exams or check-ups. When Cuba implements its Family Doctor Program (see 1984) many of the brigadistas sanitarias’ responsibilities will be taken over by the family physician-nurse teams. The role of the brigadistas sanitarias will focus mainly on health education. They will also occasionally assist family doctors and nurses. [Feinsilver, 1993, pp. 66]

Entity Tags: Cuba, Federacion de Mujeres Cubanas

Timeline Tags: Other Health Care Systems

1964 and after: Cuba Creates ‘Polyclinics’

Cuba transforms its health centers into “polyclinics.” Each of the polyclinics administers health services to a specific geographical region comprised of between 25,000 and 30,000 people and serves as the point-of-entry for most patients. [Feinsilver, 1993, pp. 35] In addition to treating patients, the clinics educate patients by holding daily lectures on health care in clinics’ waiting rooms. [Feinsilver, 1993, pp. 67] The region served by a polyclinic is further divided into health sectors. Within these sectors, all people are seen by the same medical teams, which after 1976 are mostly comprised of a physician and nurse trained in the same specialty. So for example, within a health sector, all children have the same pediatrician and all women have the same gynecologist. The polyclinic medical teams operate according to a paradigm known as “medicine in the community” which aims to treat patients as a biopsycho-social being in their respective unique environments. The medicine-in-the-community model is also designed to focus on disease prevention by identifying risks present in the environment before they become health problems. By the 1980s, it is apparent that something more needs to be done to achieve these objectives. The polyclinic medical teams fail to establish close relationships with their patients and have little time for prevention. This shortcoming leads to the creation of Cuba’s Family Doctor Program in 1984 (see 1984). [Feinsilver, 1993, pp. 35-40]

Entity Tags: Cuba

Timeline Tags: Other Health Care Systems

The Cuban government takes over the last remaining private medical clinics in the country. [Feinsilver, 1993, pp. 33]

Entity Tags: Cuba

Timeline Tags: Other Health Care Systems

Cuba’s Ministry of Public Health establishes rules and standards on health care for women, infants, and young children. The rules make infant health and the reproductive health of women the country’s top health priorities. The ministry’s rules specify the minimum number of prenatal examinations and consultations for pregnant women and require that all pregnant women receive education on hygiene, health during pregnancy, childbirth, and child care. They are also to receive psychological counseling and instruction in birth exercises. When women miss appointments or educational lectures, doctors are instructed to go to their homes. Additionally, the ministry’s rules state that all childbirth must take place in hospitals, where women and their new babies will typically stay for four or five days. By the mid-1980s, prenatal care provided to Cuban women will far exceed the medical norms of most industrialized countries. [Feinsilver, 1993, pp. 48-49] The ministry also issues specifications for the care of infants and children, requiring that doctors conduct a certain number of check-ups every year. By 1989, the average number of well-baby visits per year will be 11. [Feinsilver, 1993, pp. 53] Author Julie Feinsilver notes that Cuba’s commitment to prenatal and infant care is cost-effective in the long-term. “These children experience less illness, require less curative medical care, and possess greater potential for development and educational achievement, which lead to greater work capacity and higher productivity.” [Feinsilver, 1993, pp. 51]

Entity Tags: Cuba

Timeline Tags: Other Health Care Systems

Cuba’s public health ministry launches an education campaign promoting physical fitness as part of an effort to combat negative health conditions associated with sedentary lifestyles. [Feinsilver, 1993, pp. 71]

Entity Tags: Cuba

Timeline Tags: Other Health Care Systems

In May 1981 dengue fever appears in the Cuban population, becoming an epidemic by mid-June 1981. It is not known how the disease was introduced to the island, but in his annual speech on July 26, Fidel Castro suggests that the Cuban population was intentionally infected by the US. He will later claim in 1984 that some “counterrevolutionaries confessed to having carried out biological operations against Cuba at that time.” To combat the illness, the Ministry of Public Health launches a country-wide campaign to clean up all potential breeding places for the Aedes aegypti mosquito, the carrier of the disease. Everyone is asked to participate in the effort. The last case of dengue fever is reported on October 10, 1981. During the five-month outbreak, a total of 344,203 cases were reported. Of those, only 158 were fatal. More than 116,000 people were hospitalized. “No government in the Third World and few in the developed countries could have achieved as much as rapidly as the Cubans did, because most lack this national capacity to mobilize,” writes author Julie M. Feinsilver. [Feinsilver, 1993, pp. 85-90]

Entity Tags: Cuba

Timeline Tags: Other Health Care Systems

Cuba opens its 950-bed, 24-story, state-of-the-art Hermanos Ameijeiras Hospital. The building cost 60 million pesos to build and houses USD $62 million worth of medical and nonmedical equipment. The hospital will provide the latest technology and procedures available in the most developed countries and will also serve as a major research facility with computer and telex links to international research institutions. Five years later, a top Pan American Health Organization official will say that the hospital’s staff “conduct research and use technology at the international cutting edge in the medical specialties in which services are rendered.” [Feinsilver, 1993, pp. 61-62]

Entity Tags: Cuba

Timeline Tags: Other Health Care Systems

A study prepared for the Congressional Joint Economic Committee acknowledges Cuba’s successes in education and health care. “[T]he Cuban revolution has managed social achievements, especially in education and health care, that are highly respected in the Third World…. [These include] establishment of a national health care program that is superior in the Third World and rivals that of numerous developed countries,” the report says. [US Congress, 3/22/1982, pp. 5; Feinsilver, 1993, pp. 81-5]

Entity Tags: US Congress, Cuba

Timeline Tags: Other Health Care Systems

Sergio Diaz-Briquets, in his book The Health Revolution in Cuba, concludes that universal health care access, along with the narrowing of the gap between mortality rates in urban and rural populations “appears to be the main causative factor behind Cuba’s impressive gain in life expectancy.” [Diaz-Briquets, 1983, pp. 113; Feinsilver, 1993, pp. 92]

Entity Tags: Cuba

Timeline Tags: Other Health Care Systems

1984: Cuba Launches its Family Doctor Program

Cuba launches its Family Doctor Program. This new system is designed to make up for the shortcomings of the “medicine in the community” model (see 1964 and after) which did not create the intended close relationships between physicians and patients and which had failed in the area of preventative care. Under the new system, Cuba aims to put a physician and nurse team on every city block and in the remotest rural communities. The plan calls for the creation of 25,000 such teams by the year 2000, 5,000 of which would be assigned to factories, schools, ships, and homes for the elderly. The teams are charged with providing comprehensive medical attention to everyone in their districts, both healthy and sick. Each district consists of between 120 and 150 families. Special emphasis is placed on prevention and people are encouraged to exercise, eat well, and avoid unhealthy lifestyle habits such as smoking. [Feinsilver, 1993, pp. 35, 40-42] Implementing the system also requires corresponding changes in the country’s medical schools. All medical graduates except surgeons, nonclinical specialists, and future medical school professors are now required to complete a residency in family medicine before completing a second residency in a specialty area. [Feinsilver, 1993, pp. 30] After the Family Doctor Program is implemented, medical costs begin to drop. The reduced costs are attributed to decreased hospitalization and emergency room use, better health monitoring, improved patient fitness, and more effective prevention. [Feinsilver, 1993, pp. 35, 45]

Entity Tags: Cuba

Timeline Tags: Other Health Care Systems

Cuba’s Ministry of Public Health conducts 8 million HIV tests discovering 449 positive cases. Most of the infected individuals are quarantined by the Cuban government to prevent an epidemic. They are housed in a sanitarium, luxurious by Cuban standards, and they are exempted from work requirements. Though they are not prohibited from seeing family members and friends, any visits are restricted and monitored. Health officials from both developed and developing countries later request assistance from Cuba in establishing their own AIDS sanitariums. [Feinsilver, 1993, pp. 82-85]

Entity Tags: Cuba

Timeline Tags: Other Health Care Systems

By this date, Cuba has 6.0 medical assistance beds per 1,000 inhabitants and 1.3 social assistance beds per 1,000 people. The island boasts a total of 263 hospitals, 420 polyclinics (see 1964 and after), 163 dental clinics, 229 dispensaries, 3 medicinal spas, 148 maternity homes, 23 blood banks, 11 medical research institutes, 153 homes for the elderly, and 23 homes for the physically and mentally impaired. These facilities are distributed relatively evenly across Cuba, though there is a slightly higher concentration of beds in those provinces that serve as regional health centers. The Havana province also has a larger number of beds per capita because it is a national referral center. [Feinsilver, 1993, pp. 58-59]

Entity Tags: Cuba

Timeline Tags: Other Health Care Systems

After a two-day conference in the resort town of Montego Bay, Jamaica, energy officials from a number of Caribbean countries agree to a proposal by Venezuela to form a new oil company that would distribute crude and refined oil products to Caribbean countries under preferential terms. A commission led by Venezuela will devise a plan for the new company, to be called PetroCaribe, and a follow-up meeting will take place in the Bahamas in November. “PetroCaribe should be a catalyst for the introduction of alternative approaches to market access… and correction of the various pricing inequities that prevail in some markets,” the officials say in a joint statement issued at the conclusion of the conference. Many of the countries are concerned that high energy prices will devastate their economies and lead to social unrest. Another initiative proposed by Venezuela during the conference is the establishment of a fund to provide grants for health, education, and housing programs in the Caribbean. Countries participating in the talks include Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Cuba, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago. [Associated Press, 8/27/2005]

Entity Tags: Guyana, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Venezuela, Petrocaribe, Barbados, Dominican Republic, St. Lucia, Belize, St. Kitts and Nevis, Grenada, Jamaica, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Cuba

Timeline Tags: US-Venezuela (1948-2005)

Hurricane Ivan, a Category 5 storm, sideswipes the western tip of Cuba. The Cuban government, which says it has been preparing for a storm of this magnitude for the last 45 years, successfully evacuates between 1.5 and 1.9 million of its residents—more than 13 percent of its entire population—to shelters at higher ground. The entire evacuation takes 72 hours and utilizes every truck and bus available. All the shelters “have medical personnel, from the neighborhood,” according to Dr. Nelson Valdes, a sociology professor at the University of New Mexico, and specialist in Latin America. They also evacuate animals and veterinarians, TV sets and refrigerators “so that people aren’t reluctant to leave because people might steal their stuff,” he says. Though 20,000 homes are destroyed, there is not a single fatality from the storm. [MSNBC, 9/17/2004; United Kingdom, 10/1/2004; Truthout (.org), 9/3/2005] The United Nations International Secretariat for Disaster Reduction (ISDR) later cites Cuba as a model for hurricane preparation. ISDR director Salvano Briceno says, “The Cuban way could easily be applied to other countries with similar economic conditions and even in countries with greater resources that do not manage to protect their population as well as Cuba does.” A UN press release, summarizing the country’s hurricane preparation program, says: “Disaster preparedness, prevention and response are part of the general education curriculum. People in schools, universities and workplaces are continuously informed and trained to cope with natural hazards. From their early age, all Cubans are taught how to behave as hurricanes approach the island. They also have, every year, a two-day training session in risk reduction for hurricanes, complete with simulation exercises and concrete preparation actions. This facilitates the mobilization of their communities at the local level when a hurricane hits Cuba.” [United Nations, 9/14/2004; Seven Oaks, 9/21/2004]

Entity Tags: Hurricane Ivan, Salvano Briceno, United Nations, Cuba

Timeline Tags: Hurricane Katrina

Venezuela and Cuba sign a number of deals, deepening economic ties between the two countries. One of the deals made is that the two countries will construct a joint shipyard in the western Venezuelan state of Zulia where naval ships will be built and repaired. The Cuban government also agrees to purchase from Venezuela food products such as canned sardines, gelatin, puddings and marmalades, chocolate drinks, condensed milk, as well as work clothes, including 400,000 pairs of boots. Additionally, Venezuela says that the 53,000 barrels of oil it began selling to Cuba on preferential terms in 2000 (see Late April 2005) has been increased to 90,000 barrels per day. In exchange, Cuba will increase the presence of Cuban doctors working in Venezuelan slums and rural hamlets from 13,000 to 30,000 by the end of 2005, in addition to providing training to 40,000 new Venezuelan doctors. [Canadian Press, 5/5/2005; Associated Press, 7/13/2005]

Entity Tags: Venezuela, Cuba

Timeline Tags: US-Venezuela (1948-2005)

Thirteen Caribbean countries, led by Venezuela, sign the Petrocaribe Alliance, an energy cooperation agreement that will allow member nations to purchase oil from Venezuela under preferential terms. The agreement, signed during a one-day regional summit in Puerto La Cruz, Venezuela, calls for the establishment of a regional refinery network overseen by Venezuela that will produce and ship oil to member nations. The agreement is signed by Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Belize, Cuba, Dominican, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, San Cristobal and Nieves, Santa Lucia, San Vicente and the Granadinas, Surinam, and Venezuela. Two countries, Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago, choose not to sign. [United Press International, 6/30/2005; BBC, 9/7/2005; Nation News (Barbados), 9/18/2005; Petroleos de Venezuela, 11/28/2005] The details of the pact will be decided in September (see September 7, 2005)

Entity Tags: Dominican Republic, Grenada, Barbados, Belize, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, Cuba, Trinidad and Tobago, Suriname, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Lucia, Antigua and Barbuda, Petrocaribe, Venezuela, Bahamas

Timeline Tags: US-Venezuela (1948-2005)

Caribbean leaders sign an agreement specifying the details of Hugo Chavez’s Petrocaribe Alliance. Under the agreement, Caribbean governments would purchase Venezuelan oil at market price. Whenever world market prices for oil surpass the $40 a barrel mark, Venezuela would offer to finance 40 percent of the cost to be payable over a period of 17-25 years at 1 percent interest. Further concessions would be granted if the price of oil surpasses the $100 mark. Governments will be permitted to pay a portion of their oil tab with services or goods such as rice, bananas, or sugar. “We have the opportunity to break from the path of imposed domination and servitude,” Chavez says during the talks. “The capitalist model… imposed on us is not sustainable.” The talks are attended by representatives of Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Belize, Cuba, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Surinam, St Lucia, St Kitts and Nevis and St Vincent and the Grenadines. [Associated Press, 6/30/2005; BBC, 9/7/2005]

Entity Tags: Trinidad and Tobago, Cuba, Suriname, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, Dominican Republic, Belize, Grenada, Jamaica, Guyana, Barbados, Venezuela, Petrocaribe, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas

Timeline Tags: US-Venezuela (1948-2005)

The US Department of State releases its 2005 edition of Country Reports on Terrorism, in which it states that Cuba remains a “state sponsor of terrorism, while Venezuela virtually ceased its cooperation in the global war on terror.” According to the report, Venezuela has been “tolerating terrorists in its territory and seeking closer relations with Cuba and Iran.” [US Department of State, 2006, pp. 155 pdf file]

Entity Tags: Venezuela, Cuba, US Department of State

Timeline Tags: US International Relations, US-Venezuela (1948-2005)

Ordering 

Time period


Email Updates

Receive weekly email updates summarizing what contributors have added to the History Commons database

 
Donate

Developing and maintaining this site is very labor intensive. If you find it useful, please give us a hand and donate what you can.
Donate Now

Volunteer

If you would like to help us with this effort, please contact us. We need help with programming (Java, JDO, mysql, and xml), design, networking, and publicity. If you want to contribute information to this site, click the register link at the top of the page, and start contributing.
Contact Us

Creative Commons License Except where otherwise noted, the textual content of each timeline is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike