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Computer related needs, 4/22

InfoMed USA Web Site

On the number of Black MDs in Cuba and the US

Oct '99: Harper's Ferry

Update Letter from InfoMed, 1/99: Infomed begins projects in the Caribbean

Contacting InfoMed USA

InfoMed USA

InfoMed USA supports InfoMed in Cuba, which is a premier organization in medical informatics and the development of medical networks not only in Cuba, but also in the Caribbean, South America and soon in Africa..

The InfoMed USA folks are absolutely tops in the area of effective assistance to blockaded Cuba.  Their first shipment of some 400 computers got through thanks to the Pastors for Peace and the courage of a group of fasters, four of whom pushed their fast to the limit and thereby forced the US to allow the shipment. Operating since then under Commerce licenses which must be laboriously obtained for each shipment, InfoMed USA has managed to send down many more hundreds of PCs to form a large part of the medical computer network on the island.  They currently have 700 PCs occupying precious warehouse space while they await yet another license. The InfoMed network in Cuba has performed many vital roles, including the dissemination of medical litterature at a time when Spanish language medical litterature is under effective blockade by the US thanks to the acquisition of Spanish publishers by US firms.  Perhaps someday this will rank as an article of indictment in a war crimes trial. But the project goes beyond the medical information network to clinical computing and other uses, playing to Cuba's strengths in the medical and biomed sector, areas where AfroCubans traditionally, since the revolution, have had a strong presence.

Most interesting to us, Infomed has a conscious policy of linking up their technical struggle with those of people of color, supporting Cuba's many endeavors in this area.  As the 1/99 update letter discusses, Infomed USA and Infomed Cuba are working with medical informatics people from Jamaica and elsewhere in the Caribbean.  The plan is to then move this technology to South Africa and elsewhere in Africa in support of their health systems where Cuba already has more physicians on the ground than the World Health Organization.  This is truly exciting. And the best parts are still to come as you can see below, where InfoMed USA talks about future plans and potential donations of nearly 2000 computers at a time.

On the number of Black MDs in Cuba and in the USup.gif (925 bytes)

AfroCubaWeb reports:
United States 290,000 000 inhabitants Black MD'S 17,000
       Cuba           11,000 000       "              "        "         13,500

I don't question these figures. I think however that they only state part of the whole. They suggest that Cubans of African descent are doing significantly better than their counterparts in the US, as judged by participation in the medical profession. I agree. They are. I suggest that including population distribution information would give a more precise idea of proportional representation by group in the medical profession. If we accept the following figures:

Inhabitants in the US:    290,000,000
Blacks in the US              35,000,000 (12%)
MD's in the US                     726,000
Black MD's in the US             17,000 (2.3%)

Inhabitants in Cuba:        11,000,000
Blacks in Cuba:                 7,000,000 (63.6%)
MD's in Cuba:                        60,000
Black MD's in Cuba:              17,000 (28.3%)

then we can conclude that:

A Cuban Black is 4 times more likely to be a physician than an American Black.

However, there are still ways to go:

A non-Black Cuban is 6 times more likely to be a physician than a Black Cuban.

Which, nevertheless, is a long step forward from what we observe in the US, where:

A non-Black American is 50 times more likely to be a physician than an American Black.

I hope these comments are useful and that they add to your efforts to look with joy but also with a critical mind the process of social transformation in Cuba, which started "only" 40 years ago. I want to see what it achieves in the next 40 years!

In solidarity,

Juan Reardon
USA/Cuba InfoMed

Harper's Ferryup.gif (925 bytes)

Date sent: Wed, 13 Oct 1999 08:46:34 -0700

Subject: Harper's Ferry - 140 years ago

To live free or to die!

Today, October 16, should be for all of us, and particularly for African-Americans, a good day to appreciate the armed defiance of indigenous peoples of Chiapas, Mexico, the struggle of the Colombian rebels and particularly the victorious Cuban revolution of the last 40 years.

Today, 140 years ago (10/16/1859)African-Americans Osborn P. Anderson, John Copeland, Lewis Leary, Shields Green and Dangerfield Newby decided that they had had enough of the slave owning society. Armed with "sherman" rifles, they joined the military invasion of Harper’s Ferry, Virginia, led by a John Brown and a small group of radical abolitionists, calling for slave insurrection, the end of slavery and full control of their own destiny.

In so doing the fragile balance of the society came to the brink of total disruption. Rumors about slave insurrections and bloodbaths ran wild, positions became further polarized, and within a year the nation exploded into civil war. Eventually, the masters of society offered "emancipation" as the more manageable and damage-controlled outcome of a chaotic situation (clearly preferable, in their opinion, to the inpredictability of four million rebelling slaves).

All but O.P. Anderson died in the days and battles that followed the invasion of slave-owning Virginia. These true heroes of mankind would have had today no problem at all understanding the stand and the struggle for self-determination and dignity that the Cubans, the Colombians, the Native Americans of our continent are carrying on. They would have seen it as their own.

Perhaps today, as homage to those men, we can salute all those in our Americas who choose either to live in dignity as free people or to die.

Juan Reardon
USA/Cuba InfoMed
Richmond, California

Update Letter from InfoMed, 1/99up.gif (925 bytes)

Dear Friend:

We wish to introduce you to our all-volunteer, humanitarian aid project whose recipients are themselves noted around the world for their humanitarianism towards other nations.

We refer to the Republic of Cuba, which has sent more than 100,000 volunteers to Africa, Latin America and Asia to render meaningful, developmental assistance to their health care systems, education systems and general infrastructure. At his time, Cuba has 402 doctors practicing in rural South Africa (where the White South African doctors don't want to practice)and is accepting hundreds of you, sending South Africans for training in Cuban medical schools - free. Now, Cuba is sending more than 2,000 doctors to Central America to deal with the medical consequences of Hurricane Mitch. Another 200 are beginning to arrive in Haiti.

President Castro, visiting South Africa in October 1998, said "Cuba is a small island next to a very powerful neighbor. Nevertheless, the teaching institutions of our country have already graduated 26,294 African professionals and technicians. 5,850 more have received training."

"At the same time, 80,524 Cuban civilian specialists, among them 24,714 doctors, dentists, nurses and health technicians, and thousands of teachers, professors, engineers and other professionals and qualified workers have served in Africa."

"In the last 30 years, 381,432 Cuban soldiers and officers have fought alongside African soldiers and officers on the African continent, in support of national independence or against external aggression."

"From the African lands in which they worked and fought voluntarily and unselfishly, THEY TOOK BACK TO CUBA ONLY THE REMAINS OF THEIR FALLEN COMRADES AND THE HONOR OF DUTY FULFILLED." "What Cuba did in Africa was nothing more than the payment of a debt of gratitude to those who were brought to our lands and subjected to the most criminal type of exploitation." He added that the first people to struggle for the independence and freedom of the American hemisphere were African slaves.

The deep African roots of the Cuban people are expressed in the language, religion, music, dance and the overall culture of the island nation. Equally important, the Cuban government has for decades supported the independence and the development efforts of countries in Africa as well as resident countries of the peoples of the "African diaspora". Case in point is the current support that Cuban technicians are providing in countries of the Americas such as Brazil, Guyana, Peru, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Jamaica and other English speaking countries of the Caribbean.

Furthermore, Cuba has been a sanctuary for many African American political activists under persecution and victims of US injustice. Fighters like Assata Shakur, ( framed up on false charges and now facing extradition attempts by the most vile opponents of Cuba's sovereignty.

As we in USA-Cuba InfoMed continue to support Cuba's public health system by furnishing the Ministry of Public Health with computer equipment, Cuba is collaborating with health and information professionals of Jamaica to develop a similar medical information network. We are currently preparing to ship to Cuba's doctors and health care workers about 700 personal computers, all donated by individuals and businesses, and repaired/packaged by our volunteers.

In conjunction with our Cuban colleagues, we USA volunteers have just concluded a five-day planning conference in Havana with four visiting medical librarians from Jamaica. This three-cornered partnership of USA, Cuba and Jamaica will bring Cuba's InfoMed technology to the islands of Jamaica, Trinidad and Barbados.

Afterwards, we will move on to the Dominican Republic and other Caribbean nations. Ultimately, we expect to be performing this same task in South Africa, where Cuban president Fidel Castro was recently greeted by President Nelson Mandela as "one of my greatest friends".

For information about our project and about Cuba, please visit our Web site:

We believe that you will identify with our goal to help the medical infrastructure in developing nations through our work in Cuba. You can express your support for our work in the following ways:

*) Send a note to your congressional representative asking for the end of the blockade of Cuba . The US congress web site,, maintains a list of web sites and postal mailing labels addresses.

*) You can also express your support with a financial contribution to our project. The money will be used primarily to cover the shipping expenses for our next cargo containers holding those 700 personal computers that we have already prepared.

Finally, we wish to take one moment to ask you to support the struggle for the life and freedom of Mumia Abu-Jamal, an African American political prisoner on death row who was framed in the shooting of a Philadelphia policeman.

A massive march for Abu-Jamal will take place in Philadelphia and San Francisco on April 24, 1999. Be a local organizer. Ask your church and community center to be involved.

For more information contact: (415) 821-0459 (in San Francisco) or/and

P.O. Box 19709, Philadelphia, PA 19143
HOTLINE: (215) 476-8812
FAXLINE: (215) 476-7551

To write to Mumia in Prison:

#AM-8335, SCI Greene,
1040 East R. Furman
Highway, Waynesburg,
PA 15370-8090


David Wald                        Juan Reardon, M.D.
USA/Cuba InfoMed         USA/Cuba InfoMed

Computer related needs, updated 4/22up.gif (925 bytes)

Infomed USA has on going needs in the following areas:

- 486 and pentium computers

- parts for 486 and pentiums: memory, disk drives & controllers, networks cards, tape drives, upgrade chips to DXs

Contact InfoMed USA with your questions, suggestions, and donations.

Contacting InfoMed USA

Web site:

Email for Juan Reardon, MD:

Phone: (510) 926-0917

Contacting AfroCubaWebup.gif (925 bytes)

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