Resistance support group ‘Tajammo3’ visits Cuba

As the Fidel Castro Centre shows, more than 700 Cubans fought in defense of Syria during the Tishreen war of 1973.

In June, delegates of Tajammo3 (the Global Gathering in Support of the Choice of Resistance) made a visit to Cuba to develop links with like-minded groups in that famously independent Latin American country. The group had representatives from Syria, Palestine, Lebanon, and Australia.

A key aim was to build relations with Cuban and Latin American anti-imperialist networks, which are seen as sharing a common cause. As this was the first visit to Cuba for most of the group, there was also a program of visits to Cuban sites and institutions.

The visit was hosted by the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the People (ICAP), which these days is headed by Mr. Fernando Gonzales, a national hero of Cuba and one of the ‘Cuban Five’ former political prisoners in the USA. They also met with Cuban representatives of the Network in Defense of Humanity (REDH), an international group of intellectuals and artists, formed on the initiative of the late Fidel Castro and the late Hugo Chavez.

Led by Secretary General Dr. Yehia Ghaddar, the group sought ‘full interaction, cooperation, and coordination’ with Cuban partners, noting that the peoples of Latin America had been subject to very similar wars, interventions, and domination by the same imperialist and zionist forces that have plagued the peoples of West Asia and Africa. He observed that Cuba had long suffered a Washington-driven cruel siege, similar to those which now afflict many Arabic and Islamic nations.

At ICAP, Dr. Ghaddar recognized the outstanding international example of Cuba and its Revolution, saying that “the steadfast and resistant people” of Cuba well represented the ideals for which Tajammo3 stood. He foreshadowed future conferences in Tehran on ‘A World Free of Nuclear Weapons’ and in Damascus on ‘Peoples United against Sieges and Sanctions’. He hoped Cuban delegates would be able to participate.

The Tajammo3 group visited the marginalized community of La Corea, where there was state support for the reconstruction of housing, after the most recent hurricane, and essential services. Here the group also saw the local Committee for the Defence of the Revolution (CDR), which supports local communities and monitors counter-revolutionary activity, mostly foreign-funded.

The recent Fidel Castro Centre is based in a large house in the Havana suburb of Vedado, formerly the property of a very rich family. It is fitted out with new technology which showcases the life of the legendary Cuban leader and the international cooperation he initiated, in dozens of countries.

The group twice visited the Casa de las Americas, an early creation of the Cuban Revolution, which showcases the culture of all 35 countries of the Americas, not just the chauvinist USA, which arrogates to itself the title of ‘America’. They met musicians and artists and the President of the Casa, Abel Prieto, himself a former Minister of Culture in governments headed by Fidel.

Other venues in the program were the Institute of Fine Arts, the house of the late Armando Hart (former Minister of Education and Culture), the Arab House, Abdallah Mosque, the Arab Cultural Centre, the Museum of U.S. Crimes against Cuba, and the Jose Marti National Library.

At the Centre for Medical Cooperation (UMCC), the group was briefed on Cuban medical missions from the early 1960s until today. Cuba currently has medical cooperation in 52 countries, with about 30,000 of its 1000,000 doctors working abroad. It has graduated tens of thousands of doctors from other countries, through its Latin American School of Medicine (ELAM).

The briefing at Cuba’s peak pharmaceutical group was particularly impressive. BioCubaFarma is an umbrella group covering 32 enterprises, 6 production lines, 21 research and development units, and over 20,000 employees, many of them with PhDs and Master’s degrees. Cuban advances have been in the context of a six-decade-long economic blockade of the island by the USA, a blockade that restricts Cuba’s economic relations with many other countries.

Director of Biomedical Research Dr. Gerardo Guillén Nieto gave a thorough overview of Cuba’s medicinal developments, in recent years.  Following are some of Cuba’s products:

Heberferon (for non-melanoma skin cancer)

Heberprot P (a unique Cuban product for the treatment of diabetic ulcers, avoiding amputations)

CIGB 2020 (therapeutic vaccine for chronic Hepatitis B)

CIGB 300 and 500 (therapeutic vaccine for lung cancer)

CIGB 845 (therapeutic neuroprotection)

CIGB 814 (therapy for autoimmune disease, including rheumatoid arthritis)

Jusvinza (for respiratory distress)

Nasal formulation of Interferon Alpha (for immunotherapy treatment)

Proctokinase (treatment of haemorrhoids with recombinant streptokinase suppository)

With vaccines and disease surveillance they have reduced acute hepatitis B cases from over 2,000 per year in the 1990s to very low numbers including zero for children since 2007. The synthetic Quimi-HiB vaccine and Cuba’s pentavalent vaccine (hepatitis B, bacterial flu Hib, whooping cough, diphtheria and tetanus) have had similar dramatic success since 2001 in lowering bacterial flu (Haemophilus influenza type b) in children.

Dr. Guillén spoke of the recent developments in Cuban COVID19 vaccines. He cited Abdala, produced with bacterial and yeast fermentation, approved in July 2021 by Cuba’s regulatory agency CECMED.

Trials have shown Abdala has greater efficacy than either Sputnik or Sinovac, but it is also now used as a booster for those two. There is also Mambisa, a nasally administered COVID vaccine, which also shows good results. Recently 26 US Congress Democrats urged President Biden to expand vaccine cooperation with Cuba.

Tajammo3 Secretary General Dr. Ghaddar said, “We do not fear for Cuba, under its leadership, its state and its system that raises the slogan of science and health; it just cannot be defeated.”

The group was received by Ms. Ariana Lopez and Dr. José Ernesto Narvaez from the Cuban chapter of the REDH. They outlined the history of the Network and expressed full support for cooperation and coordination with Tajammo3 Dr. Narvaez said:

“Cuba and the Arabs have had strong and solid relations. Six decades ago the Cuban Revolution sought to build struggle relations with the Arab world. Our people are partners in confronting American aggression everywhere. Our example is Ernesto Che Guevara, who made the first visit to the United Arab Republic under the leadership of Gamal Abdel Nasser. For this we have a deep awareness and understanding of Arab issues and their rights.”

As the Fidel Castro Centre shows, more than 700 Cubans fought in defense of Syria during the Tishreen war of 1973. At the time, seeing the expansionist nature of the Zionist regime, Cuba broke all relations with “Israel”. It has never sought to break relations with any other country.

The delegation returned to the offices of its host, ICAP, on the last official day of its visit. Their members met ICAP leaders and the former Cuban Ambassador to Lebanon, Mr. Alexander Pellicer Moraga, now head of the Middle East section at Cuba’s Foreign Ministry (MINREX).

He said, “Here in Cuba, I tell you, the majority of our people support the Revolution and the state and rally around it. All attempts to destabilize Cuba and provoke movements of isolated groups of outlaws will fail. Our Revolution and our state believe in the people and represent them in the best way. That is why we are confident that US plots and schemes will be defeated. We hope you will convey our greetings and a picture of our unity and Cuba’s capabilities to your peoples.”

Vice President of ICAP Mr Víctor Gaute López told the Tajammo3 representatives:

“We highly appreciate your visit and its exceptional influence in circumstances where your countries are suffering from acute crises and are subject to blockades and threats, just like Cuba. We are in the process of responding to aggressive US strategies of ‘creative chaos’ and we have to strengthen the relationships between resistant countries and peoples, to develop the systems and principles in which we believe, and to defend them. Our definition of revolution is the resistance industry, the constant evaluation, and correction of our actions, moving towards new creative paths.”

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