Cuban FM Praises ALBA’s Role in Haiti Crisis
CUBA, Jan 25, 2010. - Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla praised the role of and the assistance provided by the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of the Americas (ALBA) to the people of Haiti after the devastation caused in this Caribbean nation by an earthquake almost two weeks ago.
Speaking in a meeting of ALBA’s Extraordinary Political Council held on Sunday in Caracas, Venezuela, to examine the situation in Haiti, Rodriguez made reference to a recent article by the leader of the Cuban Revolution Fidel Castro entitled “We Send Doctors, Not Soldiers”, and added that the ALBA countries have always made efforts to help Haiti.
“Since 1998, Cuba, with the cooperation of other ALBA countries, has provided medical assistance to 13 million Haitian patients, including 207,000 surgeries and 103,000 labors. It is estimated that hundreds of lives have been saved,” he said.
The Cuban diplomat noted that 26,000 Haitians have benefited from the Miracle free eye care program and that more than 900 young Haitian students have graduated from an ALBA nation with nearly 600 currently studying there. He added that 160,000 Haitians have also learned to read and write with the assistance of an ALBA country plus the contribution of Venezuela.
Rodriguez recalled that ALBA was also working with Haiti in important projects in the fields of education, health, housing, energy, fishing, agriculture, air and land transportation, communications and sugar production.
“When the earthquake took place, ALBA did not have to go to Haiti because it was already there,” the Cuban Foreign Minister stressed.
He pointed out that 11 says after the disaster occurred, health professionals from Cuba, Venezuela and other ALBA countries, have treated 23,171 people, including 2,090 surgeries, and they have immunized 7,874 people against tetanus.
“This effort involves almost 1000 medics and paramedics, including 249 young Haitians and 16 surgical teams that have worked almost around the clock. There are 766 Cuban specialists in Haiti with 466 of them in Port-au-Price,” Rodriguez said.
He added that emergency services are currently being provided in 14 hospitals and by mobile brigades of primary health care in dozens of communities.
The Cuban diplomat suggested the implementation of a program by ALBA to rebuild and equip the Haitian health system describing it as a solid, sustainable and lasting contribution to the people of Haiti. He also urged ALBA to create a medical contingent to join the current efforts in the Caribbean nation along with personnel from the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).
Rodriguez reiterated Cuba’s willingness to cooperate with all the countries in the world to solve humanitarian problems. (Cubaminrex - acn)