Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Mayor's Diary - Latin Edition

Some more details of the mysterious Cuba visit came out at Question Time:

Angie Bray: Please can you list your meetings in Havana / Venezuela?

Ken Livingstone: In Cuba I met with:

Lord Colin Moynihan, Chair of the British Olympic Authority.
Simon Clegg, Chief Executive of the British Olympic Authority.
Juan Contino Aslan, President of the Havana City Provincial Assembly of the Popular Power (Mayor of Havana City).
Minister Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla, Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Minister Marta Lomas, Ministry of Investments and International Cooperation.
Jaime Crombet, Deputy President of the Assembly of the Popular Power.
Fernando Ramirez, Head of International Development, Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party.
Eusebio Leal, Historian of Havana and Member of the National Assembly of Popular Power.
Doctors of Operation Miracle, eyecare project restoring sight.
Doctors at the Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology Institute.
Relatives of the Cuban Heroes (the Miami Five) imprisoned in the USA.

I did not go to Venezuela.

Livingstone claims that he met the Cubans to discuss hosting a celebration of the Cuban Revolution in London. If that is the only reason, they must need even more senior figures to organise a party than New Labour does.

And what great titles! Let's hope he doesn't get any ideas...

Rename the GLA, the Greater London Provincial Assembly of the Extremely Popular Power.

Rename the Olympics Operation Miracle.

And who gets to be the Historian of London? (The Mayor's Office read this blog....)


MayorWatch said...

I think I should be the Official Historian of London. Or London's Ambassador to Paris, I fancy a few years of Parisian cafe culture.

I'm also increasingly keen on declaring independence from the rest of the UK - if you're good Mr E you'd get to be a regional governor in charge of your very own district.

Not sure how we'd fit the List members into such a scheme, maybe they could serve as deputies for the directly elected AMs?

Anonymous said...

Roger, are you sure you should be criticising 'Operation Miracle?' Do you know what this plan is? in the Caribbean and Latin America, it is has been welcomed by governments to the left and right of centre, as a humanitarian project which has restored hundreds of thousands of poor people's sights.

Roger Evans said...

Young Londoner:

Welcome to the blog - I hope you will return regularly.

I'm not critcising Operation Miracle as I don't know enough about it to draw a positive or negative conclusion. You are clearly more familiar with it than I am (although I do feel that the claim these socialist republics have created the best health services in the world deserves to be carefully examined).

The use of the phrase in my piece is clearly intended as a tongue in cheek criticism of the Olympic delivery process - now if that comes in on time and on budget it will certainly be a miracle...

Zambini said...

It's quite patronising to mock how other societies describe things. Anything can look odd through another culture's lens, especially after translation from one language to another. For example, how must "House of Lords" look to the Cubans? A lot odder than the Spanish of "peoples' power" I would think.
You say that you don't know enough about Operation Miracle, in which case why do you mock its name and then downplay the achievements of the Cubans in terms of health? Around half a million poor people from 28 Caribbean and Latin American nations have benefited from Operation Miracle, a highly successful programme started by Cuba that provides free surgery to low income patients. It deals with blindess and other eye problems. From the position of a blind person who has had their sight restored, Operation Miracle is rather aptly named.
Furthermore, the Cubans have secured this and their other achievements in terms of healthcare - giving Cubans a high life expectancy for example - despite the US blockade which affects the supply of medical equipment and medicine as well as everything else.