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US State Department Denies Health Minister’s Visa Request to Attend PAHO

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The U.S. State Department has denied a visa request from the Public Health Minister Jose Angel Portal Miranda and a medical delegation to participate in a forum of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) in Washington.

Yesterday the U.S. State Department denied the visa application for the Health Minister. In response to the latest attack, Cuba has accused the U.S. of repeatedly violating its obligations as the host of an international organization.

The PAHO runs from September 30 to October 4. It is the 57th Directing Council of the Organization with the objective of establishing priorities and plans to address the main challenges facing the region in matters of health. It is the most important meeting of the organization whereby the health ministers of the region gather to analyze health topics in the Americas.

The U.S. has the obligation to facilitate the granting of visas, to ensure the participation of all member states, an obligation which has been arbitrarily and unjustifiably violated.


The director general of the United States of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Carlos Fernández de Cossio, has described the latest State Department announcement as another aggression against Cuba.

‘The U.S. Department of State does it again. Practicing his coercive foreign policy measures, the only one he is able to do,’ he tweeted from his Twitter account.

“Illegitimate visa restrictions to attack Cuba. The recognized international medical cooperation shows a morally bankrupt U.S. policy,” the diplomat tweeted.

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De Cossio added that “the U.S. Department of State has a great misunderstanding of the moral values ​​related to solidarity and loyalty.”

‘Huge mistake in believing that Cuban officials would betray international medical cooperation commitments in exchange for visas to enter the U.S. Foreign policy lacking basic decency,’ he added.

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The Cuban government, including Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel, have denounced the attempts by the Donald Trump administration to persecute Cuban medical missions abroad for alleged violations of the human rights of the island’s doctors.

Cuba’s medical internationalism is a large contributor to the Cuban economy. The exporting of Cuban doctors and other health staff is a major export and, by some reports, generates approximately $11 billion annually. This pays not only the doctors’ salaries but also supports the universal healthcare system on the Island.

Currently, an estimated 50,000 Cuban doctors work in 67 countries. For 56 years, this system has served 1,585 million patients, performed more than 348 million surgical operations, and 14 million children have born with the hands of Cuban medical staff.

In addition, Cuba has trained thousands of doctors from 138 nations for free at its Latin American School of Medicine.

Cuba and the PAHO have worked together for many years in the Latin American and Caribbean region in joint research projects which have also involved the collaboration of American medical associations such as the Center for Disease Control.

In addition, Cuba led the fight against Ebola in Africa while ‘western nations fretted about border security’ as reported by The Guardian.

Cuban doctors have received numerous awards for their contributions to medical science and research from the PAHO.

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