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CUBA IS THE FUTURE FOR LATIN AMERICA AND PERHAPS THE WORLD On my way out of Cuba, from La Habana, on COPA airlines flight to Panama, I w...

mercredi 16 août 2017


It’s quite a story.
This story may seem unlikely in this era of generalized war between cultures, civilizations, and religions. And I am grateful to British journalist Ben Judah for having brought it to light in an article that appeared in the Jewish Chronicle the day after the visit to Israel of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The time is December 1971. The place is the territory then known as East Pakistan. Separated by 1,600 kilometers from West Pakistan, this Bengali part of Pakistan has been in rebellion since March.
The central government in Islamabad, rejecting the secession of what will eventually become Bangladesh, is engaged in a merciless repression, the cost of which, in lives, remains unknown even today, almost a half-century later. Half a million people may have died, of perhaps a million, 2 million, or more.
On Dec. 3, India decides to enter the conflict, to “interfere,” as one would put it today, in the domestic affairs of its neighbor so as to stop the bloodbath. The fighting rages.
The Bengali freedom fighters, known as the Mukti Bahini, now supported by India, become increasingly daring.
New Delhi’s strategy is to build up slowly and gradually, a decision. This strategy seems to many ill-suited to the Bangladesh of the day, a terrain of few roads, major rivers, and innumerable marshes. Thirteen days into the new phase of the war, with the Pakistanis having massed 90,000 troops around Dacca, the capital, against the Indians’ 3,000, New Delhi appears to be stuck and has hardly boxed itself into the beginnings of a siege. And it is at this moment that a high-ranking Indian officer, without notifying his superiors, takes a plane, lands in Dacca, presents himself to General Niazi, head of the Pakistani forces and pulls off one of the most spectacular bluffs in modern military history: “You have 90,000 men,” the Indian officer tells Niazi. “We have many more, plus the Mukti Bahini, who are full of the vengeance of their people and will give no quarter. Under the circumstances, you have only one choice: to persist in a fight that you cannot win or to sign this letter of surrender that I have drafted in my own hand, which promises you an honorable retreat. You have half an hour to decide; I’ll go have a smoke.”
Niazi, falling into the trap, chooses the second option. To the world’s amazement, 3,000 Indian soldiers accept the surrender of 90,000 Pakistanis. Tens of thousands—no—hundreds of thousands of lives on both sides are spared.
And Bangladesh is free!
The story might have ended there.
Except that the general behind the masterly coup that makes him godfather to a new Muslim country is Jewish. His name is Jack Jacobs.
He was born in 1924 in Calcutta into a Sephardic family that had arrived there from Baghdad two centuries before, leaving behind 2,000 years of history.
In 1942, learning of the ongoing extermination of Europe’s Jews, he enlists in the British army in Iraq, fights in North Africa and then moves on to Burma and Sumatra in the campaign against the Japanese.
And remaining in the military after the independence of India in 1947, he is the only Jew to rise high in the country’s military services, eventually coming to command the eastern army that, in December 1971, will be mounting the offensive against Islamabad’s legions.
It happens that I met this man 46 years ago. I was in rebellious Bangladesh, having responded to French novelist André Malraux’s call for the formation of an International Brigade to fight for a Bengali land still in limbo but suffering mightily under the hand of West Pakistan.
I had just entered Dacca with a unit of the Mukti Bahini.
In the company of Rafiq Hussain—eldest son of the first Bangladeshi family to welcome me into their home in the Segun Bagicha neighborhood, and who later became my friend—I saw Jacob at Race House on Dec. 16, standing behind (and letting himself eclipsed by) his colleague, General Jagit Singh Aurora, signing, in Niazi’s presence, the act of surrender that he had penned.
The next day, I happened to see him again with a handful of journalists and heard him speak of Malraux, whom he was reading; of Yeats, whose poems he knew by heart; of his twin Jewish and Indian identity; of Israeli General Moshe Dayan, whom he worshipped; and of the liberation of Jerusalem, which he held as an example of military skill. But to my recollection he said nothing about the intensely dramatic, stirringly romantic, face-to-face encounter with Niazi in which the war of personality carried a thousand times more weight than the war between armies — an encounter that determined the fate of the young Bangladesh.
I can picture his mischievous look. His rather heavy silhouette, unimposing in itself though emanating an incontestable authority.
And his strange and reticent way of remaining a step or two behind his comrades in arms, generals Aurora and Manekshaw, as if reluctant to claim any credit for a feat of audacity that I now know was his alone.
He appeared to me, that day, like a representative of one of the lost tribes, spreading the genius of Judaism.
He might have been a Kurtz from Kaifeng, Konkan, Malabar, or Gondar, newly returned from the heart of darkness but ready to head back up the river. Or a biblical Lord Jim or Captain MacWhirr, done for good with typhoons and ready to forge an alliance with the coolies.
People who save Jews are known in Judaism as righteous. How should one refer to a Jew who saved, raised to nationhood, and baptized a people who were not his own?
Translated by Steven Kennedy. You can help support Tablet’s unique brand of Jewish journalism.

mardi 15 août 2017


An excellent opportunity to Visit CUBA!
An opportunity to meet Cuban Clinicians and Researchers.
Topics covered are Endocrine Diseases as well as Reproductive Health in women with Diabetes.

I am a member of the Endocrine Society of America and will be happy to help any American MD/HealthCareProfessional/Other Interested parties, to attend this three day congress. There are direct flights from Miami, Charlotte, Atlanta, New York, Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, Los Angeles and Houston. 
It is better to stay in private homes, please check Air BnB. The congress is held outside the main sights of interest, so it would be better to stay in Vedado which is central as well as easy to reach.

If you search for CUBA in my blog, various articles would come up.
You can contact me at : angkor.diabetes@nauta.cu. Please put Endocrinology in the subject matter. Thank you.

La Sociedad Cubana de Endocrinología, la Sección Cubana de Diabetes Mellitus y la Sección de Salud Reproductiva


A investigadores y especialistas nacionales y extranjeros, interesados en la Endocrinología, para la realización del:


Estimados colegas,
Nos resulta muy grato informarles de la celebración del IX Congreso Cubano de Endocrinología “ENDOCRINOLOGIA 2017” y el III Congreso sobre Salud Reproductiva en la mujer diabética “SAREDIA 2017”, los cuales se realizarán en La Habana, del 8-10 de noviembre de 2017, Hotel Las Praderas, lo que es el resultado del desarrollo que esta especialidad ha alcanzado a nivel nacional e internacional.
La amplia participación de personalidades científicas hace posible un nutrido intercambio de experiencias y una puesta al día en diversos aspectos de las afecciones endocrinas.
El Comité Organizador y Científico, la Sociedad Cubana de Endocrinología, de Diabetes y de Salud Reproductiva, confía que el programa científico y las actividades sociales cubran las expectativas de todos los participantes, solo nos resta, desearles una estancia agradable y acogedora durante los días del evento.

ENDO 2017
Inmunología, genética y endocrinología
Epidemiologia de la Diabetes Mellitus
Diabetes y complicaciones
Enfermedades endocrinológicas de la infancia
Enfermedades tiroideas
Obesidad y Síndrome Metabólico
Afecciones de la hipófisis y suprarrenales
Reproducción y endocrinología
Endocrinología del adulto mayor
Afecciones del metabolismo fosfo-cálcico
Desordenes del desarrollo sexual

Factores de riesgos reproductivos en la DM
Infertilidad en el hombre y la mujer con diabetes.
Contracepción en la diabetes.
Control preconcepciomal en la diabetes.
Embarazo en la mujer diabética.
Pubertad y DM.
Climaterio y DM.
Resistencia insulínica y trastornos reproductivos.
Disfunción sexual y DM.
Derechos reproductivos en la mujer diabética
Aspectos psicosociales de la sexualidad y la reproducción en DM
Auspiciado por:

Ministerio de Salud Pública
Instituto Nacional de Endocrinología
Asociación Latinoamericana de Diabetes (ALAD)
Federación Latinoamericana de Endocrinología (FELAEN)

Presidentes de Honor: Dr. Bartolomé Arce Hidalgo, PhD
                                    Dr. Antonio Márquez Guillen, PhD

Presidente: Dr. Francisco Carvajal Martínez, PhD
Vicepresidentes: Dr. Manuel Gómez Alzugaray y Dr. Manuel Vera González
Secretarios: Dr. Manuel Licea Puig y Dr. Eduardo Cabrera Rode, PhD
Vicesecretario: Dr. Felipe Santana Pérez, MSc
Tesorera: Lic. Aimee Álvarez Álvarez MSc


Dr. Julieta García Saénz, MSc
Dra. Ileydis Iglesias Marichal, MSc
Dra. Ana Ibis Conesa González
Dr. Erick Robles Torres, MSc
Dr. Jacinto Lang Prieto

Dra. Gilda Monteagudo Peña, MSc
Dra. Dania Cardona Garbey, MSc
Dr. Emilio E Bustillo Solano, PhD
Dra. Omaida Torres Herrera, MSc
Lic. Nora Hernández Quesada

Presidente: Dr. Oscar Díaz Díaz
Secretario: Dr. Eduardo Cabrera Rode, PhD

Dr. Felipe Santana Pérez, MSc
Dra. Tania M Espinosa Reyes, MSc
Dra. Daysi Navarro Despaigne, PhD
Dra. Kenia Rodríguez Martínez, MSc

Dra. Maite Cabrera Gámez, MSc
Dra. Silvia Turcios Tristá, MSc    
Dr. Emilio Bustillo Solano, PhD
Dra. Omaida Torres Herrera, MSc


Español e Inglés

2.     Título del trabajo: Título breve en MAYÚSCULAS, negrita y sin subrayar. No incluir abreviaturas ni símbolos. Incluir: Título, autores, servicio o departamento, así como institución donde se desarrolló el estudio, ciudad, país y correo electrónico del autor que realizará la presentación del trabajo.
3.     El resumen debe ser estructurado: Objetivos, Material (o Sujetos) y Métodos; Resultados y Conclusiones.
Resumen del trabajo: en formato Word con letra Arial 11 y no más de 300 de palabras sin incluir el titulo, autores y afiliaciones.

Plazo máximo de recepción: 31 de julio de 2017

Los resúmenes serán dirigidos a:

Dr. Eduardo Cabrera Rode     diabetes@infomed.sld.cu


Participantes Extranjeros

Médicos: 350.00 CUC
Residentes: 100.00 CUC
Cursos pre congreso: 20.00 CUC

“SAREDIA 2017”

8-10 de noviembre de 2017, Hotel “Las Praderas”, La Habana

Dr. Bartolomé Arce Hidalgo, PhD
Dra. Deysi Navarro Despaigne, PhD
Dr. Manuel Gómez Alzugaray
Dr. Arturo Hernández Yero
Dr. José  A Mesa,  México
Dr. Juan Rosas,  México
Dr. Moisés Mercado, México
Dr. Corrado Cilio, Suecia
Dr. Eduardo Pusiol, Argentina
La correspondencia debe ser dirigida a:
Dr. Francisco Carvajal Martínez endoped@infomed.sld.cu    

Dr. Manuel Gómez Alzugaray manuel.gomez@infomed.sld.cu

lundi 14 août 2017


I have never felt unwelcome in this country and I have been coming in and out of the country with certain regularity for more than twenty years. 
My reason to come to America differs from most other people: I am no longer a tourist, I am not an Immigrant, I am not in search of education or employment
I am here to help a poor segment of the population I have chosen to serve and I am privileged to serve: the Native Americans.
The onslaught of the earlier Immigrants from Europe, pushed the native americans into unwanted corners and remote areas so I find myself in places that no visitors to the USA or even americans themselves do not go
How many of you have visited
Tama, Iowa?
Eagle Butte, South Dakota?
Eagle Pass, Texas?
Macy, Nebraska?
So I have very little contact with the reality of american life, especially in the polemic times we are living now.
I am treated well at the airlines, airports and rent a car counters. I shop at Trader Joe's where I buy my weeks supply of food before venturing to the interior. So my contact with "real" america" is limited indeed.
Yesterday I had a glimpse of what is happening in a part of this country. It will take more than a person to make this country "great" again, it would take the collective will and a complete change in consciousness of this very class divided nation.
I visited a Walmart Store in a medium sized city in Iowa. For those of you who want to learn more about the mentality of the people who live in those parts, please read Bill Bryson's comical book A LOST CONTINENT, travels through small town America.
Walmart is a symbol of globalization, exploitation and marginalization and cheap imported goods. I wanted to buy some bananas (organic bananas three times the price of ordinary bananas) but water extremely cheap.
I tried to smile at people, like I would do in Cuba but no one returned the smile. People looked morose and downtrodden and there were symbols of poverty everywhere. The place was full, it was a Sunday, with Mexican labourers off for the day shopping with their families, and gaggle of burqah clad somalis( why did the US government place them in this harsh climate?), american blacks and poor white people. 
I felt sad, I missed my little island of laughter where there is no Walmart and where finding water especially with gas takes work and walk and missed my friends there. A suitably chubby girl of mexican origin with a rather lovely name Marisol served me, but she looked at me under her heavy mascara with no trace of friendship. My Hello was not returned and when I began speaking Spanish, she completely turned off. As Octavio Paz, the Nobel Prize winning Mexican writer has said: Mexican Americans are a race of Shame, they are not proud of their ancestries. If Marisol had been a Cuban (first of all she wont be working at Walmart but instead at home doing her homework), even if she were born in USA, she would have happily replied in Spanish as Cubans are proud of their language, even if they are proficient in English. Mexicans take knowledge of Spanish as an inferiority complex as if they cant speak English. I am a native English speaker and I love speaking Spanish!
The only cheerful person in that conglomeration was the older lady greeting people entering the store, she returned my smile, not the burqah clad somalis with stern faces, Black Americans with their sad faces and the Mexicans with their shamed faces. A Black American looked at me threateningly as I pushed innocently my cart too close to him and cursed me beneath his breath.
I felt indeed very sad.  
They are poor, I said to myself, their hopes for the future has already been defined by their limited capacity to reach the measure of success in this country: Money. Mexicans have lost their symbols and rituals and thus any source of strength, the Somalis are trying to create something without realizing that their creation is taking them away from their American dream. Poor Immigrant women from Morocco or Somalia wear buqah in the west, and their sisters in their home countries wear traditional clothes, so they are trying to create a tradition which is alien to this  society which prides in integration and not separation. and to which they have willingly migrated.
I have been a recipient of the best of the American culture, hospitality, open mindedness and generosity.
I will never forget when I arrived here as a Exchange Student while studying Medicine in London, the Faculty and Staff went out of their way to make me welcome, make sure that my life was comfortable and that I learned as much as I could. I am always grateful to them. I especially think of the late Dr Howard Lessner and Dr Phil Glade both of whom helped me at JMH when I was a Foreign student in these shores. I still remain foreign, but I am well integrated into the psyche of the America, I understand the aspirations and desperations but as my good friend Lincoln Myers of Trinidad said: we don't share its future goals and directions.

As I write this, I realize that the best antidote to these social upheavals in Europe and USA is to continue devoting my professional and social time to others.
American Indians believe that goodness of your action is reflected in the generations that follow you. I know LBGS is blessed so is the miracle recovery of my sister JRC-S.

vendredi 11 août 2017


It is a great pleasure for me to show my favourite country to visiting people. In the last year, I have had multiple visitors including some friends from my university days in Melbourne as well as my Native American Indian family and friends.
When I arrive in Miami, whether from Havana or Doha in Qatar, I enjoy the proximity of Cuba and its latin flavour. Always, my closest friends there invite me to share meals and it was a pleasure recently to reciprocate these favours.
The treasure of Cuba lies in its people and I have enjoyed this treasure chest ever since I became a visiting professor of Anthropology and recently an Ambassador for the National Institute of Endocrinology.
Cuba welcomes visitors regardless of your nationality. A tourist card is all that you need to enter the country which is sold for 20 Dollars in Panama and 100 dollars by American Airlines and 50 by JetBlue and Southwest.
Tourism by American citizens are not permitted, this includes citizens of other countries living in the USA with Green Cards. All other nationalities can enter Cuba either directly from the USA or numerous other countries which maintain flights daily from their capitals. From the caribbean alone, there are flights from Nassau, Port Au Prince, Cayman Islands, Santo Domingo, French West Indies, Dutch West Indies and the caribbean ports in Venezuela, Colombia, not to mention all the capital cities of the Central America. I recommend either to come by a direct flight from Miami or connect through Miami or Fort Lauderdale using USA based airlies or Panama using COPA airlines.
I recommend coming for Educational purposes such as the upcoming annual meeting of the Endocrine Society of Cuba. If you need a second opinion on any medical problem, Cuba has the finest medical institutions in Latin America and certainly the most compassionate one in all the americas including USA.
Ciro Garcia offers private consultations by specialists for a nominal fee, there are neuro restorative institutes.
I am associated with the National Institute of Endocrinology and very proud of the consultant Endocrinologists who are world class. They are assisted by a group of very well trained Psychologists and Nutritionists. I believe our Institute is the only one in the world where all patients can request Psychological evaluation and mandatory for all Cuban patients with Endocrine disorders such as Obesity, Diabetes or Cushings Syndrome to mention a few. 
Here are some pictures from a recent reunion with some visiting friends. We lead the world in Trans Gender Endocrinology and Psychology, the Cuban Institute of Sexual Medicine CENESEX is headed by no one other than the daughter of the President of Cuba!
Once you have your educational programme planned and an invitation issued, please make sure that you have the evenings and the weekend free to enjoy the treasure of Cuba, the people. I recommend that you stay in a private home which can be booked through Air BnB. Whenever possible patronize private restaurants but Cuban creole food is best enjoyed when cooked by someone in their homes, so good luck. I personally do not visit Paladares which serve Cuban food as I have my neighbours prepare and invite me for good Cuban Tucker as we say in Australia.
I had the pleasure of organizing a recent educational visit by some friends and making sure that they spend as much time as possible with private Cuban citizens and apart from taking refuge at a hotel lobby from fierce sun of august in Cuba they visited no hotels or government establishments. They stayed with me, each night ate with my friends, who would come with prepared cuban food. I had instructed my friends to bring wines of their choice, Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc from New Zeland, and Bogle Pinot Noir and Petite Syrah as well as some Chilean wines. You can get wines in Cuba but it is a country known for Cigars and Rum rather than wine. I was able to offer them a Hoyos de monterrey Robusto and we did drink a Cuba Libre (a local drink attributed to a drunk american sailor during their occupation of Cuba 1895-1905)

 On the appointed day of their arrival I had a meeting with the Ambassador from Malaysia who is a friend of mine, with whom I am engaged in an Art from Cuba project. I hurried to the airport only to find that the flight has been delayed by one hour. The following pictures are in no particular order but tells you of our culinary adventure in Cuba, thanks to my Cuban friends. The two restaurants we visited were GUSTO run by a Sicilian and his Cuban wife near FOCSA as well as CUBAPASION run by a Belgian who is married to a colleague of mine from the University.

 Breakfast with Bagels and Cream Cheese at home.

the town of Bermejas where we were invited to a sumptuous lunch.
 Visiting parents of a cuban doctor volunteering in Qatar. It filled me with joy to know the sacrifices Cubans do so that they can serve others. Good Example to all people around the world studying to become Doctors (Cuba educated more than 20 000 students from poorer countries in the world including some Black Americans and Latinos from the USA to become Doctors. It is a source of pride for me.)
 This small town in Matanzas surrounded by Sugar cane factories used to have an international airport before the triumph of the Cuban revolution. No trace of that aspect of North American colonialism is left.

 Our neighbour preparing the lamb dinner of welcome to our guests 
 It is a delight to see these old cars still running, this one from the 1940s!
 The arrival hall of the International airport is always chaotic and noisy, the arrival board showing flights arriving from various countries. Soon after the Jet Blue landed, a KLM flight from Amsterdam and an Air Europa flight from Madrid as well as flights from Miami, New York and Mexico landed. What a commotion! But the immigration and customs processes are very easy (I have to thank Obama for that )
 A welcome drink of Pina Colada at CubaPasion is always welcome

 I am a Jew so we welcomed the Shabbat, in a very warm Cuban way. The Challah cover was made by Sarah Cohen who is one of the last Jews of Jew Town in Cochin in India.

 Each night we had at least 10 people over for dinner, all of us had plenty of good home cooked Cuban meals as well as our favourite wines: Kim Crawford from NZ in my case.
no preserved foods, vegetables of the season, home made icecream, good cuban coffee for that could stomach it so to speak, fruits, chocolates from Belgium as well as local seafood paste, saumon et thon from Quiberon in France.
 The only day off was at the beach/pool in Havana where we spent a long day schmoozing as we say in Yiddisch. Friendship is an investment and one has to nurture it at all times.
One thing came to my mind as I was writing this. An elderly Meskwakia told me: just because you were good yesterday, we dont have to treat you well, you have to be good today as well  to deserve that. 
So dont rest on your laurels! that is the lesson

 A medical student who wants to specialize in Family Practice and then go abroad to volunteer and to specialize in Paediatrics when she comes back. When she finishes, with 3 years abroad, she will be 30 years old. This is the success of Cuban Medicine.

 Shrimp in Thai curry sauce 
 C, who is a third year History student at the University of Havana, is a friend who waits on the table. She speaks English as well as Japanese.

 Crab cakes 

 we had just finished our Kiddush when our neighbour wanted us to look at her burn from a motorcycle fall. She had been seen at the Policlinic and prescribed appropriate medications and given leave from her work in a hospital. She appreciated my friend's opinion and attention.

a local oeneologist savouring our wines and passing his opinion.

 It is always lovely to see the outlines of the buildings of my neighbourhood.
 The medical student had travelled from another province to come and greet us. It was our pleasure to have her with us.

Matanzas as seen from Montserrate. 
Cuba is a tranquil and safe country. It is not unsual see teenage girls walking home alone after 10 pm, many a time from the Parque nearby where they had gone to check their emails or have a conversation with the relatives in Miami through the video app imo. Public wifi is becoming ubiquitous in Cuba, even small town squares have wifi on the offer.
So it is time for you to come and visit Cuba! Cristobal Colon admired it, was the home of the defiant Taino Indian HATUEY and the generations of defiant Cubans including Antonio Maceo, Jose Marti and Fidel Castro. A lovely land full of history, the most hospitable and affectionate and kind and considerate people in all of the caribbean. If you speak Spanish it would help you, even though more and more people in Cuba are beginning to speak English at least at the level of communication..
Te Espero
Cuba and I will be waiting..

PS as if I needed any more gifts, I had the chance to meet a lovely fellow australian from Perth with some Cochin connection! at Havan airport..