Human race is one of the most powerful in the universe known to us up till now. We are familiar with human’s capacity for love, support, as well as brutality and hatred. However, love exists as the power center. We usually hear war tales or love stories from around the world but there are some different paradigms of boundless love for humanity that reveal that love is not just for one beloved but for the entire humanity.
A Caribbean Island, with abundant fertile land, having Spanish and African influenced culture, the last socialist country following the Marxists-Lenenin Ideology, known due the Castro and the famous Cigars is known to a typical Pakistani as Cuba but Pakistan as a nation should know something more about this loving and caring nation comprised of loving people living in the small islands just 90 miles away from Florida’s famous beaches.
Cubans, one of the most lively and loving nation, still recognize the poet and statesman Jose Marti their revolutionary hero. As said earlier Cuba is not just famous for the cigars or Castro but it is famous for tourism, and as one of the world’s largest nickel prodders, sugar supplier, fish and coffee. With 100% literacy rate, leading country in cancer research and biotechnology, having the highest doctor to patient ratio, it has the best health care system in the world under the National Health System.
So, this is not the only information Pakistanis should have; there are many untold stories and unsung heroes for the Pakistan nation among the Cubans. You remember the 2005 earthquake? If yes you must know about the international assistance friends of Pakistan had offered in the north Pakistan and the AJK. From all continents of the world the governments, international organization and NGOs offered aid to the affected parts of Pakistan.
There is a long list of the countries like the country down under on the planet Australia to the western coast of the world the Canada. In that list of Eurasian countries, there is also a country other than US in the Americas, which is Cuba. Yes! Cuba as well, but in 2005 it was just coming out from the five decades long struggle of Castro revolution with a very weak economy.
Although at that time Cuban living 8000 miles away had nothing to offer us in terms of dollars and infrastructure but they had the world’s biggest and emotional gift for Pakistan, love for humanity. This came by way of more than 2500 doctors and paramedics, equipped Cuban Field Hospitals, 234 tons of medicines and 275 tons of leading- edge hospital equipments for the support of the poor Pakistanis who had no roof over their heads under the cold nights of northern regions.
It was astonishing when the first Cuban medical team arrived in the affected areas right after only six days of the earthquake. Pakistan and Cuba had not even exchanged Ambassadors at that time. It is also a surprising situation for me as a Pakistani that seventy three percent of the affected patients of the earthquake was assisted by the Cuban medical teams, were present in the 45 locations with 40% of women staff working in the remote mountain areas, living in tents in freezing weather and in an alien culture after Western aid teams had withdrawn.
Pakistanis have little knowledge about the greatest example of love displayed by the then First Deputy Foreign Minister of Cuba and the current Foreign Minister of Cuba Mr. Brundo Rodriguez, who was personally supervising the medical assistance in Pakistan and he stayed in Islamabad and the affected areas for six months.
This was not the only gift Cuba offered to Pakistan, as said earlier. Cuba has little to present in terms of dollars to Pakistan but they offered their best ever gift of producing 1000 doctors from among Pakistani youth on fully funded scholarship, from the low income families of the affected areas, to open a gateway of success for their families and towards the betterment, and social and financial uplift of their country. The core idea was that after graduating the students would go back to their villages to serve their people and the families.
For the first batch of Pakistani students that was not a good time, there was no embassy or consulate available of Pakistan to look into the problems of the students. Even the Embassy of Pakistan was established in Havana a year after the first batch of students reached Cuba. So, that was the hard time for the young students having limited access to telephone and internet facilities for communication at their homes to get away from the initial homesickness one has on leaving family for the very first time in the social and cultural bonding of Pakistani society.
They had problems with food and the new culture, language and the society they had to live in for the next 5 years but one thing was there; the love, care and affection for humanity. When, I had a conversation for the very first time with few Cuban graduated Pakistani doctors about their study in Cuba, a question suddenly arose in my mind: How these young 12th grade passing students totally different culture could have become comfortable with the other and that too in the absence of any common dialect? And the answer I got was warmth that the Cubans are known for…frank, honest, friendly, helpful, talkative, emotional and bold.
Having no problems with clothes, lifestyles, cuisine and language, and I realized they were more similar to Pakistanis. Now many of them after facing hard times and graduating from the county having best healthcare system, highest literacy rate, producer of the world’s most effective hepatitis B, developer of the first synthetic vaccine for the prevention of pneumonia and meningitis, despite their own government’s discouraging policies, are come backed to Pakistan. They are fluent in Spanish, aware of the world’s finest medical techniques and most importantly are filed love they have learned from the economically poor but hospitably rich nation in the world to serve their people, families and the country through to the new heights of love for humanity.
I have never been to Cuba, and I am even regretting why I didn’t know about Cuba when I was visiting Miami just two years ago? But now I hope one day, if life gives me a chance, I would love to drive a classic car, I would love to roam in the streets of Havana like Lahore, I would love to see the wall paintings of Che Guevara, I would love to walk around Josone Park, enjoy street salsa and shake the sand with my shoes having sunset within the reach on Varadero beach, I would love to smoke the Cohiba presidente with the Espresso on a cigar farm in Viñales Valley, I would love to feel the sea air like in Karachi, well I would just love to live there where love is the only language.
Through this piece of writing I would request both the governments Pakistan and Cuba that although the systems are different, the cultures are different event the language is different but few things are common; their hospitality, friendly attitudes and most importantly their love for humanity, it is also a common thing that both the nations are not exposed to the outer world, millions have gotten no chance to visit abroad, so it is important to start cultural exchange programs if for only a month for students, farmers, traders, journalists, medical professionals to not only benefit each other but to learn about the cultures and social life styles of both nations who love each other.
The Writer is a young politician elected as Member District Council, he can be reach at firstname.lastname@example.org