Building a Just and Sustainable World      June 2007

Dear Educators,
Summer is upon us, and as many of you take a break from teaching, I want to send you off with a positive and rarely reported story about Cuba's commitment to global health. I know from your feedback that many of you work with your students around the question of "how can we make the world a better place?" This story about Cuba's focus on health care as a human right, their efforts to offer free medical training, and their outreach among the poorest and least served in our world, will hopefully offer inspiration as well as food for thought in your teaching.

Kay Hubbard, Education Outreach Manager, YES! Magazine
See our Latin America teaching resources in the YES! Summer 2007 issue Discussion Guide

spacer Narciso Ortiz. U.S. medical student in Cuba
spacer “I would like to offer free health care when I get back. I met a doctor here who spent two years in Africa and did 800 operations on little kids without getting a dime. I would like to have that opportunity.”
Narciso Ortiz. U.S. medical student, Salvador Allende Hospital, Havana
Cuba’s Cure

Dear Reader,

What if sending doctors around the world could provide more security than defense spending? What if poor, young people could realize their dreams to become doctors? Cuba is making these ideas a reality.

Cuba's health care system produces a population as healthy as many of the world's wealthiest countries and does so at a fraction of the cost, emphasizing preventative care with doctors and nurses in every neighborhood.

My article, Cuba's Cure, examines Cuba's health care model, and its global health mission. The mission is most evident when its doctors fly in to help out after natural disasters. Less well-known is the free medical training Cuba provides to thousands of students from all over the world. In return for the training, the students agree to go back to their own under-served communities to practice medicine.

Cuba is not a paradise. There is room to strengthen democracy, human rights, and freedom. But there are also things we in the U.S. can learn about the right to health care and the possibility that security and peace might be more likely to emerge from solidarity, than from violence.

The summer 2007 issue of YES! Magazine tells this and other stories of exciting social change in Latin America. Request a Free Trial Issue if you aren’t yet a subscriber, or get this issue as the first in your subscription.

Sarah signature
Sarah van Gelder
Executive Editor, YES! Magazine

More YES! articles on Cuba
Luis Sandoval. Photo by Sarah van Gelder
In Their Own Words
Meet the Cuban doctors who rush in to help in disaster zones, and stay to provide lasting health care solutions to poor communities around the world.
YES! Slide-Show icon  PHOTO-ESSAY

YES! Magazine Graphic

Cuba's Got the Vaccine—Why Don't We?
A vaccine with proven effectiveness against Meningitis B was developed in Cuba in the 1980s. Since then, 55 million doses have been administered worldwide, but not in the U.S., where outbreaks still kill children. Dr. Robert Fortner finds out why…

CMLK Center, Havana, Cuba

So You Thought There Were No Churches in Cuba...
An interview with Joel Suárez, of the Martin Luther King Center in Havana, who discusses the role of the Cuban Baptist Movement in popular education and citizen empowerment.
YES! audio icon  AUDIO   Hear an extract from the interview

image from Salud
¡Salud! Shows Cuba's Role in Quest for Global Health
The film ¡Salud! explores the hearts and minds of international medical students in Cuba; their stories plus testimony from experts around the world bring home the competing agendas that mark the battle for global health.
YES! takes on Health Care in the U.S.

YES! Magazine cover image: Health Care for All, Fall 2006

Last Fall, YES! Magazine looked at the case for universal health care in the U.S. We saw that Americans spend the most, get the least, and have no health care security. And we found solutions…

See the facts on U.S. health care, our assessment of the options available, and hear the stories of patients, doctors and those pressing for change. Includes our most-read articles of 2006:
Health Care: It's What Ails Us and Has Canada Got the Cure?

Health Care for All: available Online or as a Back Issue.
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How to Get More YES!
Just the Facts

How does the Cuban health care system measure up to the United States:

Just the Facts key

YES! Magazine Graphic

Life Expectancy Graph:
Human Development Index, 2006. UNDP, 2006.

Others: World Health Organization Core Health Indicators, 2005.

Large version online.

YES! at the USSF
Come with YES! to the US Social Forum. Follow one of the largest gatherings of progressives in recent history through our blogs and interviews from the Freedom Caravan and from Atlanta, beginning June 27. Details at