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‘Insufficient Capacity in Every Country’ Against Next Pandemic

Dec. 13 (EIRNS) – The Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security and the DC-based non-profit Nuclear Threat Initiative compile an annual Global Health Security Index, which was published on Dec. 8. The study “found insufficient capacity in every country,” bar none in the world, leaving the world “vulnerable to future health emergencies … which might be more devastating than the coronavirus.” The report constitutes proof that the mission of building modern healthcare, public health and disease monitoring systems in every country, demanded already in early March 2020 by Helga Zepp-LaRouche for the Schiller Institute, is more urgent than ever. Zepp-LaRouche identifies Afghanistan as the country where this must be done most immediately, and cooperatively involving China, Russia and the United States.

This study’s 2019 version was cited often by the Trump Administration because it rated the United States as number-1 in pandemic preparedness—and it does so again this year, with Australia, Finland, Canada, Thailand, Slovenia, the UK, Germany, South Korea and Sweden following in the “top 10.” But all failed to one degree or another in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly in comparison to China and a few other Asian countries. The study says the reason for this was “low public confidence in government” in those countries. “People have been unwilling to comply with public health recommendations that would slow the spread of the virus.”

Tom Frieden, former director of the U.S. CDC, now an executive of the global public health organization called Vital Strategies, characterized the report simply: “No country is prepared, and there’s a need for urgent action to address that.” The report itself emphasized, in addition to more funding of healthcare and “health security” or public health capacities, that “international organizations should identify countries most in need of additional support.”

One person involved in preparing this report for Nuclear Threat Initiative is now in the Biden Administration: Beth Cameron, who heads the Directorate of Global Health Security and Biodefense in the NSC.


International Groups Rally to Help Cuba Get Syringes To Vaccinate Population

International Groups Rally to Help Cuba Get Syringes To Vaccinate Population

May 28 (EIRNS)–The U.S. economic blockade of Cuba, in place since 1962, plus more recent sanctions imposed by the U.S. government, make it impossible for Cuba to obtain the 20 million syringes it needs to vaccinate its 11.2 million citizens against COVID. It has already vaccinated one million people with its Soberana 2 and Abdala vaccines, but hopes to begin a mass vaccination campaign by sometime in June, as soon as its regulatory agency grants emergency use authorization and phase 3 clinical trials are completed. Operating under the slogan “the blockade kills–your solidarity kills the blockade,” many international charitable organizations and Cuban solidarity groups, from the U.S., Europe and Ibero-America have begun raising funds to purchase the syringes and send them to Cuba, Telam news agency reported today. This collaborative effort expects to be able to raise enough money to buy and send all 20 million syringes


Dr. Joycelyn Elders, on Caribbean Facebook Forum on Health Security

Dr. Joycelyn Elders, Committee for the Coincidence of Opposites, on Caribbean Facebook Forum on Health Security

May 27, 2021 (EIRNS) – A forum was held today in Trinidad Tobago, streamed on Facebook Live Video with the online participation of Dr. Joycelyn Elders, former U.S. Surgeon General, who co-founded the Committee for the Coincidence of Opposites in 2020 with Helga Zepp LaRouche, Schiller Institute President. The topic was, “Building Global and National Health Infrastructure in the Wake of Covid.” Host Dr. Kirk Meighoo opened the hour-long dialogue, which is the second of a weekly series for a new season of his The Story Club series, with quotes from the May 14 Committee release, “Global Health Security Requires Medical Infrastructure in Every Country—Major Industrial Nations Must Collaborate Now!” The forum also airs in India.

Joining Dr. Elders were Dr. Tim Gopeesingh, from Trinidad Tobago, and Marcia Merry Baker, from EIR News Service. Dr. Gopeesingh’s long background of both medical specialty—gynecological oncology—and long, high-level public service, parallels Dr. Elders, who is a pediatrician, and the two compared views on many concrete aspects of health care, from teaching, to community health, to hospitals. Gopeesingh was a Cabinet Minister, Member of Parliament, Senator, and Health Administrator. He personally oversaw a dramatic expansion of the medical care delivery capacity in Trinidad Tobago. He was on the faculty of the University of the West Indies—which has multiple locations in several nations, and served as Clinical Dean of the Faculty of Medical Sciences there from 1994-1997.

The two physicians stressed the necessity for building capacity to deliver care. Elders said that the pandemic has revealed the “soft underbelly” of the inadequacies of medical and public health systems. On the U.S. situation, she said that for years the U.S. has not had “health care.” Instead, it has “sick care.” Both doctors spoke of providing health care in the community.

Gopeesingh described some of the capacity he had helped to build up, including new hospital resources. Then, he said, another administration came in and let the system languish. One hospital was completely shut down; now with COVID-19, it has been reopened. Elders concurred strongly, that “leadership” is the biggest need in public health and medicine. She presented “Five Cs” for leadership. Among them, Concern, Competence, and Commitment. Elders recounted when and why the Committee for the Coincidence of Opposites was founded in 2020, as the “brainchild” of Helga Zepp-LaRouche, to show that people can work together.

Baker identified the green evil we now see from the Wall Street-City of London crowd. UN Climate Action Envoy, and former Bank of England governor Mark Carney tells Africa that they should not develop their resources or build infrastructure. They should sell carbon offset credits for retaining a primitive economy, and just die off, while the bankers try to create a green bubble for themselves off the new carbon credits market. This must be stopped. Baker reported the opposition to this, in the form of the critical initiatives for a new world health security system, for example, the Mexico-Argentina vaccine production partnership, the provision of vaccine to the Honduras mayors by El Salvador after they appealed for help, the achievements of Cuba in their work on new vaccines and bio-medical research. She called for the major powers to get together and collaborate.

Dr. Gopeesingh warned against any shallow thinking that once this terrible pandemic is over it will be smooth sailing. Not at all. The coronavirus has appeared before in deadly form (SARS, MERS) and may do so after the SARSCov2 period. The cold virus requires vaccination every two years. We have to get realistic. Link to the full program is at this Facebook link: https://fb.watch/5LyRSLABHY/


Honduran Mayors Explain Success in Appeal to El Salvador for Vaccines

Honduran Mayors Explain Their Successful Appeal to Neighboring El Salvador for Vaccines

Honduran Mayors Explain Their Successful Appeal to Neighboring El Salvador for Vaccines

May 27, 2021 (EIRNS) – A group of seven Honduran mayors from the poorest municipalities of that most impoverished of nations, recently requested of the President of neighboring El Salvador, Nayib Bukele, that he help them with anti-COVID vaccines. Bukele has made a point of obtaining at least some vaccines internationally, including from China, with whose government El Salvador signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the Belt and Road Initiative in 2018. Honduras, on the other hand, remains one of the few nations in the world that has diplomatic relations with Taiwan, and not with China, and has predictably not gotten any vaccines from the United States either.

President Bukele responded favorably to the request, met with the Honduran mayors, and donated 34,000 vaccines to their municipalities in mid-May. This was especially significant because El Salvador and Honduras have a long history of hostility, with territorial disputes, and even fought a short but bloody war in 1969, today known as the “Soccer War.” Bukele’s gesture in fact falls in the domain of the kind of solutions to problems proposed by the Committee for the Coincidence of Opposites. The Schiller Institute’s José Vega interviewed two of the seven mayors about the situation in Honduras and their successful appeal to Salvadoran President Bukele. We present here excerpts from a May 16 conversation with Amable de Jesús Hernández, Mayor of San José Colinas, and a May 24 discussion with David Castro, mayor of Cedros. (A video of the interview with Mayor de Jesús can be found here.)

Mayor Amable de Jesús Hernández:

“I think that only with solidarity, with humanitarian actions, with exchanges and mutual cooperation among countries, peoples, neighbors, families, institutions, among all of us, will we be able to defeat this pandemic. There’s no other way to be able to do it. This has overwhelmed human capabilities, it has exceeded the capabilities of even the most formidable health systems of the world, and it has collapsed them.

“The only way to deal with this is with solidarity. And I think that’s what Salvadoran president Nayib Bukele has done with us, from the poor, C-category municipalities of Honduras. Because it was an act of humanity, of solidarity, of brotherhood, of altruism and comradery, which doubtless strengthens the relationship of our peoples, and it promotes solidarity. There’s no question that this has to be an example for other countries to do the same, to share vaccines, which is what is needed right away to be able to vaccinate the population and defeat this pandemic. It’s the only way…

“Because governments should have an agenda which allows for the development of the people. And as you said, all of the policies of the International Monetary Fund are out to make sure there are no investments in health: the more collapsed the health system in the country is, the better.

“And that’s exactly what the pandemic has laid bare: the humanitarian catastrophe that is reflected in the hundreds of children, men, women, elderly and adults who leave, every single day, on route to the American dream. This is caused precisely by this same model that has been imposed on us.

“So many conditionalities have been imposed on our states, that they’ve pretty much wanted to direct the entire policy of these governments from Washington, or from the offices of the IMF. And logically that has led to the entire institutional collapse that has now sunk those countries in the worst misery…

“We have to globalize solidarity; we have to globalize humanism; we have to globalize brotherhood. This gesture with us by President Bukele created what has to be seen as a gesture to be imitated by many governments in the world, so that we can come out on top of the pandemic.”

Mayor David Castro:

“The vaccine situation has infuriated all of the municipal governments… We’re watching how people have been dying in our municipalities, and we couldn’t bear to sit by and do nothing. We saw the reports that El Salvador is leading the vaccination drive in Latin America. One day I was in my office, and I told my secretary, let’s write an official letter to send it to El Salvador to request a meeting with President Bukele. The government of El Salvador answered us: `We’re going to help you.’

Mayor Castro recounted that the seven mayors were received by President Bukele. “He began by saying the following: Dear mayors, make yourselves at home. I’m not speaking with you as President, but as a mayor, since I was a mayor as well. I’d like to talk as friends… I don’t know why borders exist; borders should be imaginary, but they should never exist in our hearts.”

Mayor Castro told President Bukele that what he was doing was helping to save Honduras, to which Bukele responded: “Look, David, sometimes we plant trees and we don’t know who is going to enjoy their shade. Today we are planting a tree, which is the tree of brotherhood in Central America and hopefully tomorrow that tree will provide shade to all five countries of Central America.”

Asked by the interviewer if his constituents backed his efforts, Castro stated: “Not only my constituents. The entire nation turned out to support us. The whole country. Not just the seven municipalities, but all 290 municipalities… they backed us 100%.”

“The population of Cedros is 28,500; they gave us 4,760 doses. My dream is to vaccinate 50% of the population; that’s about another 14,000 doses. That would be a lesson for all the municipalities, that it can be done…

“Regarding the youth: like El Salvador, we have the problem of the Maras gang, which is a well-known scourge… There are also a lot of migrants who go from our country to the U.S. If we were to help those people directly in their communities, they wouldn’t have to emigrate.”


“China Speed” in the Vaccination Effort

“China Speed” in the Vaccination Effort

May 27, 2021 (EIRNS) – China has administered over 500 million doses of COVID vaccines as of May 23, according to a report in the May 26 Xinhua headlined “`China speed’ of vaccination highlights determination to beat COVID-19.” The first 100 million doses were administered as of March 27. Xinhua commented:

“Such stepped-up moves have once again demonstrated China’s strong mobilization ability, which has been proven by the country’s response to the virus since the outbreak of the epidemic… China’s vaccination speed has potential to further accelerate.” The article went on to restate the official policy:

“No one is safe until everyone is safe. Human society must ensure that the speed of COVID-19 vaccination is faster than the pace of mutation. The challenge of realizing herd immunity for the world’s most populous country is obvious, but the `China speed’ of vaccination has lit the light at the end of the tunnel. Until a final victory over the virus is secured, China will not stop its efforts to make contributions to the battle against COVID-19.”


Forget Geopolitics: Save Lives With Vaccines, Ibero-American Experts Tell Atlantic Council

Forget Geopolitics, Save Lives With Vaccines, Ibero-American Experts Tell Atlantic Council

May 26 (EIRNS)—On May 24, the Atlantic Council sponsored a webinar “The Race to Vaccinate: Chinese Vaccines in Latin America and the Caribbean,” including Guyana’s Health Minister Dr. Frank Anthony as its special guest, and a panel of three commentators including Chile’s former ambassador to China, Jorge Heine, epidemiologist Dr. Jennifer Bouey of the RAND Corporation, and Ernesto Londoño, the New York Times correspondent in Brazil. Although the Atlantic Council has eagerly participated in the recent media and think tank rug-chewing about China’s vaccines being just a “cynical” political maneuver to increase its influence In Latin America and the Caribbean, moderator Pepe Zhang had to handle the discussion in an even-handed way—unable to directly challenge the reality that China’s vaccines are savings lives in the region, while the U.S. is absent.

That point was driven home in spades in response to one of Zhang’s carefully-constructed questions, about whether China’s “vaccine diplomacy” represents “a new avenue for engagement” in the region. Ambassador Heine quickly dispensed with the narrative coming from Western media and Washington think tanks that China is using its vaccines for political leverage and “domination,” stating that the issue here is timing. Chinese vaccines come “now” to Latin America whereas the U.S. and European countries are hoarding and talking about 2022 or 2023. That’s no good, he said, describing as absurd the discussion in the Western media comparing the efficacy of the Pfizer vaccine to China’s Sinopharm, whose efficacy is reportedly 70%. “This is rich country club talk,” he pronounced. The perception of Chinese vaccines in the region is very high, Heine added. Latin America is “ground zero” for COVID cases and deaths, and how the crisis is handled “will be remembered for a very long time,” he warned. So, the U.S. should get going, and start providing vaccines fast.

While initially offering a factual report on the situation in Guyana and the surrounding region, Dr. Anthony made the same point. China had donated large quantities of PPE and lab equipment as well as 20,000 doses of Sinopharm vaccine. (Anglo-American media lie that China never donates anything. India donated 800,000 doses. USAID offered a grant, “but no vaccines.” The situation in the region is now critical, he warned, with a surge in cases and deaths in Jamaica, Barbados and Trinidad & Tobago. Guyana and the region have also been driven into deep economic crises. The bottom line, he said, is that there aren’t enough vaccines. That is the case across the Caribbean, he underscored, where vaccination rates are extremely low. He pointed out that it’s easier to store Sinopharm vaccines because they don’t require the same cold-chain capacity as Pfizer. President Biden has donated 4,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines to Mexico and Canada and is offering Southeast Asia more, but, Dr. Anthony added, “we’re in the U.S.’s backyard, and with more vaccines, we can change the situation.”

Even the New York Times correspondent, Ernesto Londoño, noted that while the U.S. warns that dealing with China “comes at a price,” the reality is that China responded to many countries in their “hour of need…they showed up first and scaled a victory,” while the U.S. was hoarding vaccines. And when asked whether there were “geopolitical competition” between China and the U.S. in the region, the RAND Corporation’s Dr. Jennifer Bouey, a Chinese-American epidemiologist who has extensive experience working in China, responded that the current situation could offer an opportunity for the U.S. and China to work together, as they had done in the past, collaborating on SARS, Avian flu, and Ebola to “build a public good.” So, she said, the precedent is there. In concluding, Zhang asked each participant to express a final message, to which Heine said: Get U.S. vaccines to Latin America ASAP; Londoño, in the face of enormous loss, help must come soon; Anthony: get the vaccines in ASAP. Dr. Bouey: U.S., Chinese and Latin American scientists can work together in resolving the crisis.


WHO Dir. Denounces “Scandalous” Vaccine Inequity, Warns the Pandemic Is Not Over

WHO Director Denounces “Scandalous” Vaccine Inequity, Warns the Pandemic Is Not Over

May 25 (EIRNS)–Addressing the 74th annual meeting of the World Health Assembly (WHA), on May 24, World Health Organization director, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, delivered a stark message. “Make no mistake,” he said. “This will not be the last time the world faces the threat of a pandemic. It’s an evolutionary certainty that there will be another virus with the potential to be more transmittable and more deadly than this one..” Even though global COVID-19 cases have been decreasing for three consecutive weeks, he warned, the world is still in “a fragile situation…. No country is out of the woods. We must be very clear: the pandemic is not over and it will not be over until and unless transmission is controlled in every last country.” 

In this context, Dr. Tedros denounced the “scandalous” inequity in vaccine distribution, which, he charged, “is perpetuating the pandemic.” He pointed out that 75% of all the vaccines that have been administered were in only ten wealthy countries. There is “no diplomatic way to say it: a small group of countries that make and buy the majority of the world’s vaccines, control the fate of the rest of the world.” Now, he admonished, it is incumbent on wealthier countries to share their vaccines with the WHO’s COVAX mechanism, which provides vaccines to poorer nations. He also announced a “Drive to December” campaign, in which countries should aim to vaccinate at least 10% of their populations by September, and at least 30% by the end of this year. But, in order to reach the September goal, he said, 250 million more people in low- and middle-income countries have to get vaccinated, “including all health workers and the most at-risk groups as the first priority. Vaccine manufacturing must be scaled up, he argued, and questioned why some companies won’t share their licenses and technologies with those manufacturers who want to help produce vaccines. 

“This is crucial to stop severe disease and death, keep our health workers safe and reopen our economies,” Dr. Tedros elaborated. He warned that “those countries that vaccinate children and other low-risk groups now, do so at the expense of health workers and high-risk groups in other countries. That’s the reality.” He noted that while virus variants don’t seem to have undermined current vaccines, variants are “changing constantly,” and that any future ones could “render our tools ineffective and drag us back to square one.”


Cuba Vaccinated One Million People With COVID Vaccine; Plans to Immunize Entire Adult Population This Year

Cuba Has Vaccinated One Million People With Its COVID Vaccine; Plans to Immunize Entire Adult Population This Year

May 26 (EIRNS)–Cuba has now vaccinated one million people with its Soberana 2 and Abdala COVID vaccines, both of which are in late-stages of Phase 3 trials, and are two of five vaccines being developed. A sixth vaccine, known as Pan-Corona, is being developed with the Chinese, described as a next-generation vaccine which is more effective against various SARS-CoV-2 strains, Telam news agency reported May 22. Both vaccines require 3 doses. Soberana 2 was developed by Cuba’s prestigious Finley Vaccine Institute which in 1989 developed a vaccine for Meningitis-B. BioCubaPharma, Cuba’s state-run biomedical company, developed Abdala, and its president Eduardo Martinez Diaz estimates that all of Cuba’s adult population will have been vaccinated by the end of this year.

Cuba is experiencing a surge in cases, as are many Caribbean and Central American nations. Health Minister Jose Angel Portal estimates that by the end of June, 22.6% of the population will have been vaccinated; 33.5% by the end of July, and 70% by the end of August. Cuba’s regulatory agency is expected to approve emergency use authorization, at least for Soberana 2, in June, at which point the government can begin its mass vaccination program. Those currently being vaccinated are volunteers from high-risk groups, healthcare workers or residents of those regions most severely affected by COVID. This achievement has provoked the ire of the {New York Times} which published a teeth-gnashing article May 12 complaining that the island government is administering “home grown vaccines that have not been shown to work.”

Other developing nations have no such qualms about obtaining Cuban vaccines, which are the product of its state-of-the-art biomedical/biotechnology industry which has been developed over decades. Iran, Argentina, Mexico, Jamaica and Vietnam, among others, are interested in obtaining the vaccine. Today, Argentina’s Health Minister Carla Vizzotti and presidential adviser Cecilia Nicolini arrived in Havana, to meet with officials to discuss how the Soberana 2 and Abdala vaccines were developed and whether they can be mass-produced, the daily {Infobae} reported today. The Argentine government is already in negotiations with Cuban officials on purchasing the vaccines, once Phase 3 trials are completed, and is interested in determining whether Argentina can eventually participate in producing them. Because the Soberana 2 vaccine doesn’t require refrigeration, it is especially attractive to developing countries.


Italian Endorsements of Schiller Institute’s Operation Ibn Sina

MILAN, Nov. 23, 2021 (EIRNS)—Alessia Ruggeri, chairwoman of UPI Italia, an association of small and medium-sized enterprises, and a renowned trade unionist in Sicily, today endorsed Helga Zepp-LaRouche’s proposed “Operation Ibn Sina” for Afghanistan with a press release which was published today in Il Corriere di Sicilia, a daily read in all of Sicily and is expected to be published in the next days in other Southern Italian papers. {Read the article here.} The press release is entitled “Helga Zepp-LaRouche launches Operation Ibn Sina to save the Afghan people” and reads:

“The Committee for the Republic, through its spokeswoman Alessia Ruggeri, endorsed the Ibn Sina initiative of the Schiller Institute. ’I believe that the world is experiencing a quite sad political, economic and social moment, with the complicity of mainstream media. We have to regain the lucidity and ability to intervene in support of a right cause. The Afghan people are paying the price of international geopolitical strategies which deny their inalienable rights guaranteed by the UN Charter.

“ ‘I therefore accept with great honor the invitation of the Committee for the Coincidence of Opposites to be a part of it and give a significant European contribution,’ Alessia Ruggeri concludes, thanking Liliana Gorini, chairwoman of Movisol, an Italian political party inspired by Lyndon LaRouche.

“Also the lawyer Roberto Zappia endorses the appeal in support of the Afghan people, first exploited for the affirmation of the territorial and political hegemony of the world powers and subsequently abandoned to the voracity of the finance and to its cynical ruthless logics.”

The press release goes on to quote Helga Zepp-LaRouche on Operation Ibn Sina from the recent Schiller Institute conference and Dr. Joycelyn Elders on the recent activities of the Committee Coincidence of Opposites, particularly in Africa. {See Dr. Elders’ call, Open Letter to Virologists and Medical Experts.}


New Xinhua Video on the BRI Features African & Ibero-American Leaders, Schiller Institute Rep

New Xinhua Video on the BRI Features African & Ibero-American Leaders, Schiller Institute Rep

Nov. 20 (EIRNS)–“Xi Urges Continuous Efforts to Promote High-Quality BRI Development” is the headline of a new Xinhua print and video release, dated 11/20/21, which features short statements from Zimbabwe President Mnangagwa, former Brazilian President Temer, and think tankers including the Schiller Institute’s Richard A. Black on the success of the BRI in uniting over 140 countries and 30 organizations in global manufacturing and development.

In the 10-minute English-language Xinhua video, Black, identified as the Schiller Institute representative at the UN, is shown in a recent video interview describing a unique feature of the BRI: a great economic power, China, has extended its arms worldwide to all nations — including those nations which are poor and are small — and deals with those nations as equals. This is an aspect of a win-win strategy of rapid, mutual economic benefit. (The article with the embedded video is found here.)

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