Cuba Sends Off Brigade to Liberia and Guinea to Fight Ebola

Cuban President Raul Castro addressingt the Summit in Havana on Monday to coordinate efforts of the  ALBA countries in the fight against ébola.
Cuban President Raul Castro addressing the Summit in Havana on Monday to coordinate efforts of the ALBA countries in the fight against ébola.

HAVANA TIMES — Cuban President Raul Castro announced today the departure on Tuesday of 91 aid workers to Liberia and Guinea to combat Ebola. The first brigade of 165 health workers traveled earlier this month to Sierra Leone.

“Tomorrow, Tuesday, October 21 two brigades will leave for Liberia and Guinea, where advance teams are already in both countries,” Castro said at the opening of a regional conference of the leftist ALBA bloc on the Ebola epidemic.

Of the two groups of health workers, 53 will travel to Liberia, according to the Minister of Health of the island, Roberto Morales. The African country is the hardest hit by what is already the worst Ebola epidemic in history.

The other 38 doctors and support persons will travel to Guinea. In total, the island will have sent 256 doctors and health workers in West Africa.

Castro reiterated his government’s willingness to cooperate with others in the prevention and fight against Ebola. “We also invite the nations of North America to cooperate in this endeavor,” he said.

In an article published on Saturday in the Cuban press, former Cuban President Fidel Castro had offered cooperation to the United States, despite the ideological rivalry between the two countries’ governments.

Although he is officially removed from power for years, Fidel Castro continues to have considerable influence in the Cuban government.

The UN special coordinator for Ebola, David Nabarro, praised Cuba in the opening of the summit for its contribution in the fight against the epidemic.

With the first group of aid workers, the small Caribbean island has already sent more aid to the countries affected than the United States or the United Kingdom, said Nabarro reading from a message from the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon.

The summit in Havana on Ebola, convened by the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) bloc, brings together several presidents, including Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro and Bolivia’s Evo Morales, as well as senior representatives of several international organizations.

25 thoughts on “Cuba Sends Off Brigade to Liberia and Guinea to Fight Ebola

  • Gimme’ a break! Raul said, “We also invite the nations of North America to cooperate in this endeavor”. The US and Canada were already in the “hot zone” before Cuba arrived. Cuban doctors are using US supplies in US-constructed hospitals and eating US food and sleeping on US beds. Only the Castro idiot supporters are fooled by this ridiculous propaganda.

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    • I heard something on the radio from a MSF doctor lamenting the fact that governmental response to the crisis has been severely lacking, relying instead on charitable organizations. Good old neo liberalism. He then went on to distinguish and praise Cuba’s contribution. Erecting a tent is good, but it’s not cleaning, feeding medicating, ect. a sick patient. I hear even the Wash. Post gritted it’s teeth and pointed out Cuba’s extraordinary contribution.

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      • Apples and oranges. It is clear that the Castro regime is starved for ‘attaboys’ for their quick and needed response to the Ebola outbreak in Africa. It is also clear that more medical staff is always better. In free societies, it is difficult at best to compel free people to do the bidding of their government, despite how noble the cause. In Cuba, where medical personnel are terribly underpaid and underappreciated, it is a far simpler task to round up a brigade of desperate doctors to take on a dangerous but necessary cause. Nonetheless, it is irresponsible to minimize the value of logistical support. I also saw a news report from MSF the other day. Apparently, a large shipment of medical supplies and equipment was stalled in an airport hangar in Liberia because of a lack of vehicles available to transport these goods to the field hospitals where they were needed. By the way, this recent crisis notwithstanding, those charitable organizations you seem to minimize carry the overwhelming share of the burden of helping the world’s poor and underserved. Cuba’s medical missions, despite all the Castro propaganda and bluster, is a drop in the bucket in comparison to work being done by the world’s non-profit charitable organizations.

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        • “Cuba is now the biggest single provider of healthcare workers to the Ebola crisis in West Africa, more than the Red Cross or richer nations, the World Health Organization says.”

          “Cuba has provided the numbers and the people,” said Jose Luis Di Fabio, the WHO representative on the Caribbean island.

          “There are more human resources from Cuba than from many, many NGOs [non-governmental organisations] put together.” This is from the BBC, Perhaps one of those “idiotic Castro supporters” has infiltrated the newsroom.

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          • Attaboy Cuba! Now, are you happy?

          • Announced healthcare workers. They have not yet arrived in country.

          • Griffin how do you manage to know more than everbody else including those on the ground?

          • The article above states that 256 Cuban medical workers have been sent, as of October 21st. In other columns on this topic, people were claiming Cuba had sent over 400. The government has pledged to send more, but they haven’t done so yet.

            The Cuban medical workers will provide care to many Africans and help stop the spread of ebola. That contribution is a positive humanitarian act, and the medical workers are heroes, risking their lives in this way.

            That said, there is another side to the story. The Castro regime is doing this for the propaganda value and the workers are not being paid according to international labour laws. The repressive aspects of the Castro regime follow the workers to Africa. These facts also deserve mention.

            I don’t claim to know more than people “on the ground”, but thank you for thinking of me in such omniscient terms.

        • Moses, referring to Cuba’s contributions as “propaganda and bluster” does not make it so…no matter how much you want others to believe it. Your mind is so twisted that it’s impossible for you to see (and appreciate) the good in anything that Cuba does. Only YOU could possibly attempt to put a negative spin on Cuba’s very positive contribution and sacrifice. If anyone is spouting propaganda, it’s you.

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          • Be honest Terry: for Cuba as much as for the USA, the contribution to international humanitarian missions does carry an element of national propaganda. That fact does not negate the humanitarian contribution. The people of Africa are better off having hundreds of Cuban healthcare workers helping the fight against ebola. The US contribution of people and money is also helpful. Nobody, not Moses nor I, have denied the value of Cuba’s contribution. We do however, try to provide a broader context to the story, beyond the hackneyed Castroite chest-thumping.

          • So if what you say is true, then that analogy must also apply to the US. But I don’t share your sentiments that providing humanitarian aid is a propaganda play. Let’s keep things real. The need is great, and those countries that have the means to contribute, should contribute, and for reasons that are directly related to the problem. Your ‘broader context’ assertions as to Cuba’s motives for contributing are nothing more than a witch hunt…just as they would be if someone were to say the same of the US.

          • Hello there,

            please. I just want to ask about a man his name was Terry Dowey from UK / DunDee

          • Reread my comment genius. Cuba deserves their share of the credit. So does the US and everyone else who has thrown their shoulder to the wheell so far. It is simply not honest for the Castros to “invite” the US to cooperate. They know it, I know it and it seems only you are goofy enough to believe Castro ‘propaganda’ on this issue.

          • Your negative spin on the Castro’s invitation is very telling…how dare little Cuba and the Castro’s propose that the US and Cuba work closely together, without prejudice, to help defeat this global threat. Are you telling me that there IS NO gap in coordinating their combined efforts? At least Cuba recognizes that there is…and has extended the invitation to close that gap for the greater good of all…putting politics aside.

          • TERRY! If what you suggest was true, Fidel simply needed to call the Swiss ambassador in Havana and leave a message for Obama. Why put the message in the press unless he wanted to milk it for its propaganda value?

          • MOSES! Fidel doesn’t NEED to do anything of the sort. Why put the message in the press? Because without doing so, Obama would simply ignore Fidel. Propaganda? I don’t think so. It certainly got your attention…and Obama’s too no doubt. Fidel achieved his goal…no matter how arrogantly you feel that he has over-stepped his place on the world stage. I mean…who does Fidel think he is…talking openly about coordinating efforts with the US? Shame on him! Moses, you seem as confused about this as Mike Tyson at a spelling-bee.

          • Shaming Obama into working with Cuba? That, in your opinion, is a good strategy to engender a spirit of cooperation? Would that work with you? Why do you assume Obama would ignore Fidel? So, how well do you think Fidel’s plan will work? Do you really believe Obama ordered his CDC Director to draw up plans to work with the banana republic’s medical research team? Are you that naïve? Even Fidel knew this was not the way to get access to the US. He did accomplish what he wanted to do though. He obviously convinced folks like you that he is has a genuine interest in working with his nemesis the US. Yea, right

      • The first Cuban medical teams sent to fight ebola arrived in Africa two weeks ago. US teams were there a couple weeks before that, and MSF & WHO teams had been there for months. The US corporation Firestone began their efforts to fight ebola in March. They the have been praised by officials with the CDC for running a model program. The existence of charities doing good work is not evidence of a weakness in liberal democratic societies: it’s a sign of their strength and moral health.

        The UN/WHO program was criticized for confusion and lack of co-ordination. Local political squabbles also served to frustrate aid efforts.

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  • ‘The details that have been filtering out of Cuba regarding the terms and conditions that the Castro regime has given to these health workers are very concerning.
    For example, the Cuban health workers have been compelled to agree that if they contract the Ebola virus, they will not be repatriated to the island.

    Moreover, they have been warned of a 90% chance of no return.’

    http://www.capitolhillcubans.com/2014/10/is-cuba-sending-unqualified-health.html

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    • It is also being said that the WHO is contracting with MINSAP, the Cuban Health ministry for these medical services. This is significant if true as the medical support being supplied by other countries is donated.

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      • Bingo! Follow the money.

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  • “Beating Ebola: One Company’s Fight in Liberia Shows How to Do It”

    Long before anyone suspected Ebola would cause the raging epidemic that’s killing thousands of people every month in West Africa, a woman got sick on a huge rubber tree plantation in Liberia.

    What Firestone Liberia Inc. did in response to that March case is a textbook example of how to fight the virus, public health experts say.

    It included quick isolation of the patient and a quarantine of her family. When one child got sick, the father was given personal protective gear so he could care for him until lab tests came back negative.

    “Aspects of Firestone’s response to the current Ebola epidemic appear to have limited its growth among the local population and might be successfully implemented elsewhere,” Dr. Erik Reaves of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and colleagues wrote in a report released Tuesday.

    http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/ebola-virus-outbreak/beating-ebola-one-companys-fight-liberia-shows-how-do-it-n230961

    Firestone began their contribution to the fight against Ebola back in March.

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    • Firestone has an interesting history with Liberia, if I recall correctly. One which makes anything good they may be doing now pale in comparison to the damage it has done to that society.

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  • It would be useful to post the numbers of Cuban medical personnel who have gone to fight the Ebola outbreak versus the numbers of medical personnel who have gone there from the U.S. ,
    I could not find any numbers at all on U.S. volunteers in the 15 or so most-recent articles on the outbreak I Googled .
    One article did say that hospitals in the U.S. were reluctant to let their employees go and that, unlike in the Haitian disasters, there were precious few medically qualified volunteers in the U.S. who were willing to go to the Ebola- affected areas of Africa.
    I will not respond to replies

    Reply

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