Health Care Sector

Cuba Slams USAID Attack Against its Medical Internationalism Program

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Cuba’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has condemned the recent United States Government USAID program to “discredit and sabotage” Cuba’s medical internationalism program.

USAID is allotting approximately $3 million of US taxpayer dollars to “investigate, collect, and analyze information related to human rights violations – including forced labor – of Cuban medical personnel exported overseas.” All of which is another false information and new propaganda campaign targeted at the destruction of the Cuban economy.

Cuban medical cooperation supplies more than 50,000 Cuban doctors and medical staff to 158 developing countries. This number is significant in that Cuba is providing more health care staff to the developing world than all the G7 nations combined.

Another Cuban health initiative is known as “Operación Milagro” (Operation Miracle), an eyesight restoration program. The Operación Milagro team is made up of Cuban medics and the Venezuelan doctors they have trained. Operación Milagro has carried out operations for glaucoma, cataracts and other vision problems.

Operación Milagro has expanded to other Caribbean and Latin American countries. At the time of writing, more than two million people in 34 countries (mostly in the Caribbean and Latin American nations) have received free eye treatment and surgery under the program.

In its denouncement, the government of Cuba states:

“It is a commitment that adds to the rude pressures exerted against several governments to hamper Cuban cooperation and previous efforts of the same purpose as the special “parole” program aimed at stealing human resources formed in Cuba.

The center of immoral slander consists in claiming, without any basis, that Cuba incurs in the trafficking of persons or the practice of slavery and pretends to denigrate the meritorious work that they voluntarily develop and have developed throughout history hundreds of thousands of Cuban health professionals and technicians in several countries, particularly in the Third World.

It is an insult against bilateral and intergovernmental cooperation programs, all legitimately established between the Cuban government and governments of dozens of countries, which have been consistent with the United Nations guidelines regarding South-South cooperation and have responded to the health requirements that those governments themselves have defined sovereignly.

It is an attempt against a solidarity effort that has received the recognition of the international community and the specific praise of the highest executives of the United Nations, the World Health Organization and the Pan American Health Organization.

These lies are revealing of the low moral status of the United States government and politicians who are engaged in the business of aggression against Cuba. The campaign has millionaire funds and the complicity of several of the mainstream media and, in particular, unscrupulous reporters who sacrifice their supposed impartiality and objectivity at the service of the political interests of the United States government.

For decades and until today, in those nations with more unfavorable economic conditions, this cooperation has been provided and is offered as a solidarity gesture, whose expenses Cuba covers almost entirely. Similarly and in line with the United Nations views on cooperation between developing countries, it is offered in several nations on the basis of complementarity and partial compensation for the services provided.

It consists of a totally fair and legitimate exchange between developing countries, many of which have natural wealth, economic dimensions or degrees of industrial development superior to that of Cuba, but lack the human resources that our State has managed to generate; of dedicated professionals and humanists willing to work in the most difficult conditions; and of the conceptions of health coverage that years of successful experience have allowed us to build.

The Cuban technicians and professionals who participate in these programs do so absolutely freely and voluntarily. During the fulfillment of their mission, they continue to receive their salary in full and have, in addition, a stipend in the country of destination, together with other forms of compensation.

In the cases in which Cuba receives compensation for the cooperation provided, these collaborators have the merit of providing a highly valuable, fair and totally legitimate contribution to the financing, sustainability and development of the massive and free health system that is accessible to all and to each one of the Cubans, as well as for the cooperation programs that are deployed in many parts of the world.

Access to health is a human right and the United States commits a crime by pretending to deny or obstruct it with political or aggression motives.”

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