Various social, cultural, university, human rights and political movements have nominated the former Cuban president, Fidel Castro, as a candidate for the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize. According to his supporters, “Cuba’s achievements in health and education, attaining remarkable goals such as drastically reducing child mortality to less than six per thousand live births, as well as school attendance figures of practically a hundred percent of the population, merit the prize”.
The announcement that set the campaign in motion also states that Cuba has “a biotechnology industry at the forefront of the sector in the Third World and a population with an extremely high level of education”. As an example, the announcement mentions the Cuban Yo si puedo (Yes I can) method, through which four million people were taught to read and write, and the ophthalmology program Operación Milagro (Operation Miracle) in which 1.6 million inhabitants underwent surgery. “The majority of the beneficiaries are from humble backgrounds”, states the publication that is promoting the campaign, published by Specialized Journalistic Services (Seinforma).
The proposal has come at a time of growing criticism surrounding the continuation of the United States embargo against Cuba, which has been in place for 47 years (and which has received widespread condemnation in the United Nations) and following Barak Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize in 2009. “While other leaders, including prize-winners, insist on sending marines overseas and firing missiles and bombs on devastated countries”, the campaign promoters explain, “Cuba has shared its achievements with other countries of the world. This is the case, for instance, of the Latin-American School of Medicine, which on its tenth anniversary had a roll of over twenty thousand students from almost a hundred countries”.
Fidel Castro, who held the Cuban presidency from the revolution of 1959 until 2006, has also proved his worth by promoting the protection of the environment and the fight against global warming and climate change. “In Eco-Rio, seventeen years ago, the Cuban leader was already calling for the protection of the environment and criticized governments and international monopolies that put their business and excessive profiteering before the environment, polluting rivers, using up non-renewable resources, turning the earth into desert, causing the planet to overheat and endangering the human race”.
[Translated from Spanish by Simon Bruni]