HAVANA TIMES — Cuba reported today that are no injuries among its tens of thousands of doctors working in Venezuela, during the incidents of violence at opposition protests following the results of Sunday’s elections.
As of Tuesday evening there were no injuries among the members of the Cuban medical mission, said Deputy Health Minister, Roberto González, in Havana.
“The Cuban doctors are doing their duty,” he said. It is estimated that some 40,000 Cuban physicians and other health professionals are working in programs sponsored by the Venezuelan government, noted dpa news.
At least seven persons have died and over 60 were injured in the violence in recent days, according to information from the Attorney General’s office in Caracas.
After the victory of Nicolas Maduro by a narrow margin in the presidential elections on Sunday, the opposition candidate Henrique Capriles called peaceful protests over alleged irregularities.
The opposition is demanding a manual recount of the votes. Maduro won by a margin of only 260,000 votes, under 2% of the total ballots.
Tensions escalated considerably in the last 24 hours. The government blamed “fascists” for the violence and Maduro stressed that he no longer recognizes Capriles as governor of the State of Miranda.
During a visit to a medical center in Miranda on Monday, Maduro accused the opposition of promoting attacks on offices of the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), health centers staffed by Cuban doctors and the homes of government officials.
Foreign Minister, Elias Jaua, accused the opposition of fomenting “Attacks on Cuban doctors.”
The close ties between Caracas and Havana were at the center of the election campaign in Venezuela. Capriles accused Maduro of receiving “orders” from the government of Raul Castro and lambasted the presence of thousands of Cubans in Venezuela.
After the arrival of Hugo Chavez to power, Venezuela became a strategic ally of Cuba, selling it approx. 100,000 barrels of oil a day under preferential terms. In return, Havana supports medical, educational and sports programs of the Venezuelan government, called social missions.
Both countries are also the core of the leftist Latin American ALBA bloc promoted by the late President Hugo Chavez. The president, died on March 5 in Caracas after a nearly two-year battle with cancer. He spent many of his last months under treatment in Havana.