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Cuba is a great country

Sir People afraid to walk the streets, inadequate health care provision, paedophile priests, racism, multi-nationals exploiting children in the Far East, Third World debt.

Sir People afraid to walk the streets, inadequate health care provision, paedophile priests, racism, multi-nationals exploiting children in the Far East, Third World debt. Surely the First World should strive to emulate Cuba's commitment to social justice rather than criticising their human rights record towards those that would undermine the social achievements of Fidel Castro's government: "Castro ridicules Mexican president for toadying to US" (World News).

I recently heard Castro boast to his people that "we live like poor people, but die like the rich" (cancer and heart diseases being the main cause of death in Cuba).

The fact is this small Third World country has produced a society with social values that put so-called developed countries to shame. Small children of all colours can walk to school unattended. I cannot think of any place in the world where I feel safer at night on the streets or where children are shown so much love and in return show kindness and warmth to adults. One million tourists last year were any of them mugged or murdered?

Perhaps it is the "brainwashing" the children get at school. For example, last week I observed a lesson in a nursery school class of four-year-olds. They had to watch a film (which was explained by the teacher) on how animals care for their young and how humans should do the same.

Some schools in rural areas have only one pupil but children's education is so important in Cuba that it is kept open. Teenage children are not out mugging at night, perhaps because they are too tired having spent two hours of the school curriculum each day working in the fields alongside their enthusiastic (poorly paid) teachers, learning the importance of manual work in society.

Our politicians say that they want to reduce crime and improve health and education. Cuba has achieved all of these goals through humanism not communism. No other country in the world can claim such a commitment to social justice and the human rights of the poor. Do the ends justify the means? Of course they do.

Dr Richard Lanigan,

Clontarf Road, Dublin

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