A chara, - To judge by the media over the past few weeks, establishment pundits and politicians seem to be so keen to attack Gerry Adams for his visit to Cuba that they have lost all sense of the reality of Cuba's struggle for self-determination.

In 1959, against massive odds, the Cuban revolution, led by Fidel Castro and Che Guevara, overthrew the corrupt, US-backed Batista dictatorship. Since then, it has survived an attempted invasion, dozens of assassination attempts on Fidel Castro and, worst of all, an illegal 40-year economic embargo which would have crippled most countries.

Despite all this, Cuba has the best health and education systems in all of Latin America, and among the best in the whole world, including the rich Western economies. Education is free to all citizens right up to third level and primary class sizes have been reduced to 20 or fewer children.

The health service is also free to all citizens and is of very high quality. Cuban doctors have pioneered new treatments for cancer and drug addiction and have served in many countries.

Maybe the real reason for the right-wing rant against Gerry Adams and Cuba may be more to do with the realisation that many Irish people will be asking why a rich country like Ireland cannot also have free health and education like embargoed Cuba. Perhaps they fear the answers when Irish workers, who generated the 1990s boom through vastly increased productivity and restrained pay increases, ask why it has been squandered on tax amnesties and concessions for the rich, rather than being invested in our health and education services. - Is mise,


Dunsink Road,

Dublin 11.