Learn about Cuba's success with homeopathy!
Our February Journey to Cuba Part One
March 7, 2012Posted by on
So it’s been almost 2 weeks since my return from Cuba, and this last trip was certainly an adventure! But where to start? Well I’ll break this up in to 2 segments so as not to overwhelm anyone including myself.
I guess it all began with my arrival through the Holguin airport where I was applauded on my profession (homeopath) and lectured on why I shouldn’t put my remedy kit through the x-ray machine. After years of traveling and fighting with security agents to please hand check my remedies it was a welcome breath of fresh air.
I had a wonderful crew filming with me. 2 Cubans – my location producer Claudia and sound man extraordinaire Ariel. Dr. Gustavo Bracho from the Finlay Institute – who would also qualify as a Cuban if he wasn’t decked out in a t-shirt and hat emblazoned proudly with the word Canada and a camera around his neck (if anyone would give us away as tourists it would certainly be him). And Marie my director of photography and fellow Canadian conspirator.We came to Holguin in order to learn more about the leptospirosis intervention that took place in 2007 and 2008. We were particularly interested in 2008 as an earthquake ravaged the area, blew away people’s homes and made people very susceptible to disease, particularly lepto.
The first place we visited was The Provincial Homeopathic Centre and it’s founder and director Dr. Esperanza Gilline. She greeted us warmly, and treated half the members of the crew with homeopathy, they were rapidly being converted to the dark side (insert evil laughter here). This centre is where homeopaths in the area send their difficult cases that they’re struggling with. Imagine having access to that kind of resource! And of course everyone receives their treatment for free. Dr. Gilline is a trove of experience and information, eager to help anyone in need. I will certainly continue to consult with her on my difficult cases.
Here I learned about a Hepatitis A epidemic that was successfully ended with homeopathic remedies. They don’t like to talk about this project too much because of the way Hep A is diagnosed in Cuba. As it’s an expensive test it isn’t frequently used so they diagnose Hep A by eliminating other diseases. Apparently this may not hold up to scientific scrutiny, so even though their experience was positive they aren’t able to publish or talk freely about this information. So I wonder of course if this is valuable information or if every bit of experiential data needs to stand up to extreme scrutiny. Is there value in learning from experience?
That was something I learned on this trip – there is a culture of secrecy in Cuba, many questions that seemed completely benign turned out to be hot topics and few people were willing to tell me that they couldn’t answer – instead they would talk in circles leading nowhere. I did encounter some brave souls who were willing to talk frankly with me and explain why certain things could not be talked about.
This culture of secrecy was especially prevalent in the province of Holguin. There is also a high level of mistrust in that city, and though we managed to get our filming permits for the city of Holguin from Havana, the local government gave us the run around in approving the permits. Eventually granting them orally which seemed a little fishy. Until they were granted we very careful and covert while filming. Agents of the “Poder Popular” would wriggle their way into our interviews, and we were followed as well. Eventually they managed to stop our filming for having the wrong visa, and hence we lost a few good days of filming. We were asked to appear at the immigration office where every member of our crew (except our soundman who felt left out) was interviewed – or perhaps I should say interrogated individually. They eventually realized that we weren’t a threat, our intentions were noble, and our new visas were quickly granted.
So back to our adventures: The next place that was important for us to check out was the town of Banes. Just getting there was an adventure. It took us it took us 6 hours to cover the 1.5 hour trip. as our ancient bright blue Chevy kept breaking down.
Banes is the birthplace of Dr. Bracho as well as an important area for the leptospirosis intervention. But what really drew us there was how hard hit they were by Hurricane Ike in 2008. At a time when the rest of the country found itself with a leptospirosis epidemic, in the town of Banes there were no epidemics of leptospirosis or hepatitis. They attribute this to the use of homeopathic prevention or homeoprophylaxis. Homeopathic remedies were given to 2.4 million people in the area, and the people of Banes was amongst those to receive what they believe to be life saving medications. We interviewed people on the street and in their homes and even found people who having gained faith in homeopathy have continued to use it for their children and their families.
So besides the compelling evidence from the Leptospirosis study published in the journal Homeopathy, I discovered that people here had a profound belief and faith in what they perceived to be the medicines that helped save their lives. They had no doubts. Not a single person I spoke with in Banes. Not to say that people didn’t have other complaints. We heard from people whose homes had not been rebuilt since the hurricane, who lacked the money to rebuild their lives and had received little government assistance. So I feel people were being honest with us and not just saying “the right thing” for the camera.
We heard personal tales of what living through the terror of the hurricane was like, and how they survived and rebuilt in the days following Ike’s arrival. We were even given home videos filmed during the hurricane. The community came together to support each other, house the neighbours who had lost their homes, help clean up the town and assist each other in reconstruction.
So in part 2 I’ll be talking about our time in Havana, the Finlay Institute’s new labs, scorpion hunting and our experience with Vidatox, a cancer remedy. Stay tuned.