Political Prisoners

Planning to Fail

By Mumia Abu-Jamal

It’s hard to look at American society today, and not see how everything seems to be a plan for failure.

One would be hard-pressed to find a society, which seems to see education as little more than a business, which only the well to do can begin to afford.

There are a plethora of loans, even some provided by the feds, but fewer and fewer grants.

When students are lucky enough to find loans, they are saddled with red oceans of debt, some to the tune of over $100,000; the costs, not just of admissions, tuition, books and fees; but of housing, clothing, transport, food, and entertainment for four years—more, if one seeks a professional, or graduate degree!

How is it that education is fast becoming a pipe dream for millions of young people in the U.S., and is free just 90 miles away from American soil?

In Cuba, education is free from kindergarten to college. Indeed, just recently a score of Americans (and hundreds of other nationalities) graduated from Medical School there, with full doctoral degrees.

Unlike their fellow students to the North, these men and women earned their degrees with no crippling debts!

Their whole education—6 years of med school—was free, courtesy of Cuban generosity.

How can a tiny, relatively poor island nation do so well, with such meager resources, and the richest nation on Earth—the wealthiest empire since Rome—can’t manage to do as well?

It isn’t that the U.S. can’t do so; it’s that it doesn’t want to—or feel the need to.

If there’s a shortage of doctors (or any other professionals here), they’ll just outsource the gigs to another country, or revise immigration rules to import talent.

That Cuba does this, in the face of its own dire economic straits, imposed by the U.S. through the Embargo, for generations—borders on the miraculous.

And that’s the kicker; one sees students as a cash cow to fuel the banking and education industries; the other sees human knowledge as the property of all humanity, and not a gain to the storehouse of human resources.

When students emerged from Cuba’s med schools, their medical degrees in hand, they were only given one small kind of debt—to use their skills to help the poor amongst us.

Boy—what an idea!

—, October 18, 2007