On this edition of Parallax Views, Dr. Mitchell Joseph Valdés-Sosa, the director of the Cuban Neuroscience Center, joins Parallax Views to discuss the 60-year embargo by the U.S. against Cuba, the story of Cuba’s response to the pandemic and development of the Cuban Abdala and Soberana 02, and pushing back against conspiracy theories about the “Havana Syndrome”. Dr. Valdés-Sosa begins by explaining the origins of the Cuban Neuroscience Center and the late Fidel Castro’s hopes and vision for public health and scientific research in Cuba. In this regard we also address the differences between the health systems of Cuba and the United States. From ther Dr. Valdés-Sosa discusses the effects of the U.S. embargo against Cuba and how it has affected the Cuban response to the pandemic. February marks the 60th anniversary of the embargo. We then discuss the story of vaccine development in Cuba during the pandemic and the efforts of Cuba to share their vaccine with the Global South. And finally, Dr. Valdés-Sosa addresses the question of “Havana Syndrome” both scientifically and politically. He explains why the claims that “Havana Syndrome” is caused by exotic weapons, particularly microwave or sonic weapons, should be ruled out. In this part of our conversation, we discuss the Fray effect as well as the ways in which Cuba is misunderstood by the U.S. at numerous different levels. Dr. Valdés-Sosa expresses the belief that U.S.-Cuba relations has been hijacked by reactionary factions but expresses hope in light of the solidarity ordinary people and organizations have had with Cuba during the pandemic.
In the second segment of our program, Giorgio Cafiero, founder and CEO of Gulf State Analytics, joins Parallax Views to discuss his Al Jazeera article “What next for world powers in war-torn Libya?”. Giorgio details the recent history of turmoil in Libya dating back to NATO interventions and the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi. Foreign interventions, Giorgio says, have not ended in Libya. They are not, however, of the U.S. variety right now. Instead, there is both a Turkish and Russian presence in Libya. In relation to the Russian presence, Giorgio specifically talks about the private organization known as the Wagner Group and its relationship to Russia. During the course of our conversation Giorgio also discusses the recent postponement of the Libya elections, the candidates (with special focus on Gaddafi’s son Saif al-Islam Gaddafi and military official Khalifa Haftar), the possibility of partition, the Civil War in Libya and the possibility it could happen again, and much, much more. Additionally, Giorgio gives an update on the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, the Houthis, the geopolitics around it involving the UAE and Saudi Arabia, and the potential changing nature of Gulf politics in light of cooperation between the UAE and Israel.