On August 21, 2005,The historic Sandino commitment was made during the live program, cementing Cuba and Venezuela’s collaboration in restoring the sight of millions.
Announcement coincides with the 50,000th surgery performed by Operation Miracle.
Operation Miracle had been launched the previous year – July 8, 2004.
Restoring the sight of millions of low-income patients, without access to specialized ophthalmology services, was the purpose of the mission, with the initial effort involving patients travelling to Cuba for surgery, where clinics equipped with the latest technology existed.
The Sandino Commitment, a name which history would assign to the agreement, laid the groundwork for extending the program throughout Latin America, the Caribbean and Africa, with the goal of treating a million people over the next 10 years.
As of July, a total of 2,728,229 surgeries have been performed, in 17 countries, including Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, Panama, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, Haiti, Argentina, Jamaica, St. Lucie, Angola and Mali, in 49 ophthalmology clinics.
The Mission is now functioning in 14 countries, with 420 professionals working in 43 clinics.
Over the years the most common ailments treated have been pterygium, cataracts, glaucoma and strabismus, with not only surgery provided, but corrective eyeglasses as well, free of charge, to all who need them.
Cuba and Venezuela are more united than ever in this battle for the dignity of their peoples.
While the neo-liberal powers are concerned with cutting services as well as Health and education it is relevant to talk about issues of dignity in the working class. Working to eliminate problems of the senses is important in this struggle.
The class struggle over privilege and of dignity are fundamental contradictions in class society. It represents the human altruistic behaviour of people versus the egocentric fascism of the monopoly bourgeoisie.
From this standpoint, it is first and foremost ideological because the crisis has led to the neo-liberals presenting their solutions as austerity issues. They do not desire the working class in particular to uphold their dignity as suppression is their main strategic goal.
Suppressing dignity is a way of undermining the ability and competence to resist.
Socialist Cuba has confronted neo-liberalism with an alternative agenda thus siding with the people’s of the world against the reactionary agenda. The willingness of people to combat the neo-liberal offensive and austerity is growing in scope and depth throughout the world.