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Revolutionary Doctors: How Venezuela and Cuba Are Changing the World's Conception of Health Care Paperback – May 1, 2011

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Revolutionary Doctors: How Venezuela and Cuba Are Changing the World's Conception of Health Care + Cuba’s Academic Advantage: Why Students in Cuba Do Better in School
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Monthly Review Press (May 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1583672397
  • ISBN-13: 978-1583672396
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,141,643 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Steve Brouwer is one of the nation's best front-line reporters from the ongoing class war."-Barbara Ehrenreich,

About the Author

Steve Brouwer is the author of Robbing Us Blind: The Return of the Bush Gang; Sharing the Pie: A Citizen’s Guide to Wealth and Power in the United States; Exporting the American Gospel: Global Christian Fundamentalism (co-authored with Susan D. Rose); and Conquest and Capitalism, 1492-1992. He is also a carpenter and designer, and has organized worker-owned construction businesses and housing cooperatives. In 2007-2008, he lived in a rural village in the mountains of Venezuela and wrote about his campesino neighbors and the Bolivarian Revolution.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Cynthia Crowner on August 19, 2011
Format: Paperback
Like the author of this book, I am the child of a doctor in the US. My dad was old fashioned--worked in an under-served rural area, made housecalls with his little black bag, and often took produce instead of cash from locals who could not afford to pay. But even with his commitment, I was aware how hard it was for many to access health care in our area. We just didn't have enough doctors for these rural areas of our nation and still don't.
So when I visited Cuba in 1978 and visited local neighborhood clinics spread evenly throughout the nation so that all citizens could have access to quality health care, I was impressed. How could a poor developing country be doing this while the rich neighbor to the North couldn't get its act together?!
I visited Cuba a couple of times during the 1990's "Special Period" when the fall of the Soviet Union had led to an economic crisis for a nation dependent on trade with the USSR and its former allies. While the structure of the health care system was still in tact, medicine was in short supply and many doctors were strapped for cash as they were paid in pesos in an economy where dollars were becoming the most stable currency (yes, in spite of the embargo). I remember crying at the state the medical system had fallen into. My hope died. . .

This summer, more than a decade later, I read Steve Brouwer's inspirational book, "Revolutionary Doctors" and my hope was renewed. By sharing in great detail with ample documentation, not only personal stories of what the Cuban doctors are doing at home but also in Venezuela where the author lived for several years, I was able to see that the vision has not died and that Cuba has rebounded and is not alone in developing universal health care for all.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Patrizia on September 14, 2011
Format: Paperback
I didn't know much about Cuban doctors when I read this book. I certainly didn't realize that they spend six years training to be doctors and learn everything that doctors do in U.S. medical schools. Nor had I any idea how committed the Cubans are to the medical education of foreigners--and particularly their fellow Latin Americans.

The Cuban/Venezuelan model of universal health care--even for people in remote, poor villages--calls for doctors who are willing to live for years at a time under primitive conditions without much income. Inspired by the vision and the example of Che Guevara--himself a doctor--the Cuban and Venezuelan doctors seem almost saintly in their desire to serve.

Steve Brouwer's calm tone and measured optimism speak to the underlying anxieties that we Americans, with our intensely individualistic system, have about more cooperative and communitarian ways of life. Brouwer tells a heartening story in which the stock of human goodness in the world is enlarged--but he tells it as an educational parable, backed up with facts and statistics. *Revolutionary Doctors* is thus not merely a book to entertain and to satisfy curiosity--it is a book to help readers to a more enlightened perspective on the practice of medicine. For those who fear that universal health care would be inferior, this book is reassuring, demonstrating that quality health care for all is an attainable goal.

In extending to the isolated rural poor the kinds of medical services that prosperous urbanites take for granted, Cuba and Venezuela are able to offer, not only better health, but a better way of life for all. Read this fine book to be inspired and moved by the remarkable story it tells and to challenge received notions about the distribution of medical resources and services.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By William Podmore on July 10, 2012
Format: Paperback
This is a fascinating and informative book.

Between 1961 and 2008, Cuba sent 185,000 medical specialists to work in 103 nations. The Cuban-Venezuelan project Misión Milagro has provided free eye surgery to more than 1.5 million people in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Between 1998 and 2007, Cuban medical personnel in Haiti conducted almost 15 million patient visits that helped bring big changes to Haiti's people. Life span increased from 54 to 61, and the maternity death rate, infant mortality rate and child mortality rate all fell by more than half.

After the 2010 earthquake, the US Navy treated 871 patients and performed 843 surgical operations in seven weeks. In the same period, Cuban medical brigades treated 227,443 patients and performed 6,499 surgical operations. In the USA, the organisation Project Censored named "Cuba Provided the Greatest Medical Aid to Haiti after the Earthquake" as one of 2010's outstanding stories ignored by the corporate media.

By 2009, Cuba had 74,880 doctors, one for every 150 citizens, more than the USA's one for every 417. In 2008, Cuba's infant mortality rate was 5/1,000, the USA's was 7/1,000; and Cuba's mortality rate of under-5s was 6/1,000, the USA's was 8/1,000.

Cuba has achieved all this in the teeth of the US state's 50-year assault on Cuba which has included invasions, terrorist bombings and sabotage, assassinations (attempted and achieved), biological warfare, the economic blockade, lying propaganda, disinformation and media sabotage.

James Cason, head of the US Interests Section, was told in 2002 to create so much `chaos' that Cuba would expel him, causing a complete break in diplomatic relations. Cuba did not fall into the trap.
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