Fidel Castro Offers Cuba’s Cooperation with USA to fight Ebola

Fidel Castro. Photo/achive:

HAVANA TIMES — Former Cuban President Fidel Castro offered the United States today his country’s cooperation in the fight against Ebola, despite the rivalry that has kept the two countries at odds for more than half a century, reported dpa news.

“We gladly cooperate with American personnel in this task (the fight against Ebola), and not in pursuit of peace between the two states that have been adversaries for many years but, in any case, for world peace,” Castro said in an article published in the official newspaper “Granma”.

In the text entitled “The time of duty,” the former president praises Cuba’s sending aid to Africa to fight the current epidemic of Ebola.

Cuba gave a “fast response” to the request of the UN, “as it has always done before such a request for cooperation,” said Castro, who ruled the island for nearly half a century until 2006. Today he is the chief advisor to the government of his brother Raul Castro.

Earlier this month Cuba sent a group of 165 medical aid workers in Sierra Leone and has offered to send nearly 300 more to Liberia and Guinea. The three countries are the most affected by the epidemic.

Castro also praised the upcoming summit on Ebola by the countries that make up the left-wing ALBA bloc (Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America), to take place on Monday in Havana.

Although removed from power since 2006 after falling seriously ill, the 88-year-old Cuban leader publishes opinion pieces from time-to-time on the front page of the island’s controlled press. His positions on the issues at hand, mainly regarding foreign policy, routinely translate into the stance of the Communist Party and the government.

60 thoughts on “Fidel Castro Offers Cuba’s Cooperation with USA to fight Ebola

  • Fortunately for the reader new to this issue, the facts are being widely reported in the world’s press, including an unusual coverage in the US. I would suggest to all to ignore the biased arguments of the haters of the Cuban revolution. Doing your own research will provide more detail and depth on this very important health crisis. For example there are a number of reports that are looking at the economic and political factors contributing to this Ebola outbreak. Others are examining what lessons about crisis response and preventions can be learned. These lessons are becoming increasingly important to us all as we face worsening public health challenges worldwide – and universally the US military approach is far more the cause than the solution to approaching crises. All the more reasons to ignore the rantings of reactionary lobbiests.

  • Lots of doctors specifically to battle Ebola were there already, none from Cuba. At the time the only Cubans present were those “doctors for rent” paid for by South Africa on standard medical missions.
    More were needed and – as you yourself pointed out – more facilities. Countries like the US, UK and China have provided both. Cuba sent some doctors, but as they have no equipment half are sitting in a hotel by the pool for over a month. The others only are active because the US and UK provided hospitals for them to work in.
    The Cuban doctors depend 100% on other nations to be able to function (as was the case in Haiti).
    Cuba made a contribution in people, not the largest one, but a welcome one. The regime’s abuse of Ebola for propaganda reasons is the vile part of this story.

  • Well, the Cubans aren’t building any. From the data it seems the US, UK, China and MSF are the ones installing facilities.
    Australians, UK NGO’s (Save the Children), Cubans and UK medical corps are are manning UK facilities. Cubans, various NGO’s, US medical corps (PHS and military) are manning US hospitals. The Chinese seem to be manning their own facilities. In the mean time about half of the Cuban doctors there are sitting in a hotel waiting. It seems they didn’t arrive as well equipped and well trained as you claimed.
    By now it is clear the Cuban medical teams isn’t the largest by far. their lack of facilities shows they aren’t the best equipped. Their need of training shows they are the “propaganda” experts.
    The Castro regime is just lying and abusing the crisis for propaganda

  • From a recent Reuters report:

    “What was urgently needed from rich Western countries, MSF said, was not more money but doctors and nurses….

    “Building ETUs (Ebola treatments units) is the easy part, the more challenging and more dangerous part is making them run safely. To stay safe you have to think through thousands of details….

    “Cuba, however, has bucked the trend, with Havana training up 461 doctors and nurses so they can help fight Ebola. So far, 256 have been dispatched to West Africa.”

  • Whoever is building the hospitals seems to be falling behind. The Cuban medical specialists — the largest medical team there — are there and ready to go. Where are the American doctors? Oh, yes… that golf course in Palm Springs. Not enough money in Africa for them? Probably wouldn’t even pay their greens fees.

  • “War”? This is an urgent medical operation. “Wait” can mean the death of lots of people. The Cuban contingent is clearly not ready to be deployed. Leaving 100+ well trained doctors sitting in a hotel would be criminal in the current circumstances.

  • In this case a lot of “wait” and no “hurry” it seems.
    As far as the American doctors go they are all over the place. NGO’s report 300 people alone and the US military is setting up 17 hospitals.
    Even those Cubans that are working are in a field hospital set up by the UK and a hospital refurbished by the US army.

  • As in any war, there is always a lot of hurry up and wait. It’s unavoidable in any large operation.

    As it says in even your article, “The Cuban delegation is the largest international medical team deployed to date in Sierra Leone, a country that needs urgent medical personnel to meet the growing demand for treatment and isolation beds.”

    Where are the American doctors? On some golf course in Palm Springs?

  • Maybe you should write to the all these international media outlets that have so lavishly praised Cuba for its response to the recent ebola crisis (see above), especially as compared to the US and let them know of your findings. They seem to be completely in the dark. (HA, HA, HA!)

    Again, let’s hope the US is shamed into sending more of what ebola victims really need — skilled medical professionals. They should send at least as many as Cuba (256 so far, plus 200 more very shortly). How about it, Mr. Obama?

  • I have already posted the proof the US has sent hundreds of doctors more through private / government cooperation. Deal with it. You are desperately trying to limit the scope of analysis to suit your propaganda.
    Cuba is the ONLY country that constantly published numbers of doctors as part of its propaganda. Western countries, which contribute a lot more than Cuba, are motivated by helping people, not by a foul desire to use a disease a propaganda.

  • Just let us know when you have proof that that the US government has sent more medical personnel than Cuba. Hopefully Cuba’s example will embarrass the US into sending more, but not so far.

    From the BBC yesterday:

    “Amid the worst Ebola outbreak of our time, it has been the small island nation of Cuba that has provided arguably the most impressive policy response.

    “Instead of offering financial assistance to those West African nations most in need, the Cuban government has focused on providing skilled healthcare workers passionate about helping Ebola victims….

    “The island nation has so far provided the largest number of healthcare workers in the fight against Ebola: a total of 256, including doctors, nurses, surgeons and paediatricians, with another 200 expected to arrive shortly.”

    You and your pals here will have to distribute an awful of lying propaganda to counter such positive press, Ernesto.

  • Do you really think people are stupid and blind?
    Just to expose your lie:
    – from my post: “This Ebola corps is a collection of doctors, nurses, scientists, soldiers, aviators, technicians, mechanics and engineers.”
    – In the news of MSF the presence of US civilian doctors was also mentioned (including Dr. Craig who got ill). Lots of US doctors are in West Africa.
    – “A look at the numbers from groups such as Doctors Without Borders and the International Medical Corps shows just about 150 people have gone to help fight the epidemic in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. ”
    “To arrive at these numbers, NBC News polled 13 aid agencies, including
    the U.S. Public Health Service, Serving in Mission (SIM), Save the
    Children and the American Red Cross. They had among them sent 151 people
    to West Africa”

    In your desperate attempt to praise your favorite dictatorship you would like people to forget that unlike Cuba – where the regime controls everything – the efforts of Western countries consist of a private – public partnership with both sides sending doctors, equipment, …

    You are – as ever – intellectually dishonest.

    The US effort has been documented.

    The UK sent a hybrid military ship with on board a hospital, tons of equipment, helicopters. The UK set up various field hospitals staffed by NGO’s and even an Australian contingent. They set up on staffed by 100 military medical personnel (22nd Field Hospital) in Sierra Leone.

    When evaluating the efforts of a nation ALL aspects of their contribution should be counted.

  • Thanks for confirming that MSF, a capitalist NGO, is far larger in its contribution than Cuba.

    The statement that Cuba is the nation that has sent the “largest medical contingent” – if ever true – is old news at best which has been overtaken by events. The US with its 3900 contingent is by far the largest one.

  • The Cubans needed help from other nations with both training (given by WHO and PAHO) in training centers built by other countries (US, UK). The come very poorly equipped and needed protective gear, medicines, …. which were provided by the countries that set up the hospitals they will work in (US, UK).
    Note that only apologists of the “loony left” call people with moderate opinion “extreme right”.
    The fact you are again reduced to insults shows you know you lost the argument.

  • The Cubans are well equipped and well trained. They are renowned for their expertise in such crisis situations. No one but apologists for the extreme right like you are saying any different.

  • There have been no mention of any other US health professionals in any account to date. Hopefully, Cuba will embarrass the US into sending more.

  • MSF is not a country. As the US ambassador said, Cuba sent “the largest medical contingent of any COUNTRY to West Africa to help with the outbreak.” That is, larger that the US, UK or Chinese medical contingent.”

  • Crude propaganda as ever.

    MSF (Doctors without Frontiers), an NGO from “capitalist countries” has a total well equipped force of 3,350 people in the ground.
    More than Cuba.

    On the US effort: 3900 people

    “This Ebola corps is a collection of doctors, nurses, scientists, soldiers, aviators, technicians, mechanics and engineers. Many are volunteers with nonprofit organizations or the government, including uniformed doctors and nurses from the little-known U.S. Public Health Service. Most are military personnel, snapping a salute when are assigned to their mission — “Operation United Assistance.” It does not qualify for combat pay, only hardship-duty incentive pay, which is about $5 a day — before taxes.”

    The “mere 65” you misleadingly refer to are in fact the medical staff at ONE hospital only as the link you posted shows. Lots more all over the place.

    “The 25-bed Monrovia Medical Unit in Liberia that was built to treat health care workers showing symptoms of the virus was opened over the weekend and was being staffed by 65 professionals from the U.S, Public Health Service, said Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman.”

  • Merely stating facts. The facts you would desperately try to hide. The US, UK and Chinese efforts are integrated efforts with all that is needed.

    The Cuban doctors come without anything. They are actually working in facilities set up by the UK and the US (USAID).

  • Still in denial, I see. Must be another of your international conspiracies, this time including the US ambassador to the UN, and the US media itself. Why won’t people ever listen to you?

    Just 2 days ago, we have another reference to a mere 65 US health professionals sent on the mission to staff an as yet unused 25-bed hospital :

    Last week:

    “It remains accurate that no armed military service members from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps or Coast Guard are providing direct medical treatment to Ebola patients in Liberia.”

  • I make no mistake. The “soldiers” are in fact medical corps: doctors, nurses, med technicians and the their support staff.
    Your desperate lies won’t change the facts. Cuban doctors would be nowhere without the support of the US and UK. They work in facilities created by the US and UK.
    As far as the training of Cuban doctots goes: they first were sent to “boot camp”:

    “Cuban doctors train, then fight Ebola in Africa”

  • I guess it’s a natural mistake for someone like you, but soldiers do not constitute a medical contingent. As far as I know, it is still the case that, as the US ambassador pointed out 2 weeks ago, Cuba still has the largest medical contingent in the region fighting ebola.

    Last week, the New Yorker reported,”No other country, to date, has contributed as many trained health-care professionals to the Ebola crisis as Cuba has.” Their report says only 65 US health professionals were sent on the mission.

    Deal with it, Mr. Lobbyist.

  • My sources are the international press.
    Again: I never spoke about being a lobbyist.
    You are just slandering me and confusing me with someone else that you slandered for that matter.

    “Ebola outbreak: UK sending 750 troops to Sierra Leone”
    “China to send 1,000 personnel to help fight Ebola – Xinhua”
    “Pentagon to deploy upwards of 4,000 troops to West Africa amid Ebola epidemic”

  • My source is the US ambassador to the UN. Who on earth is your source? BTW, you are the one on record bragging in another forum about your lobbying exploits. I have never lobbied anyone.

  • The Cuban “contingent” is NOT the largest by far. The US (4000), UK (750) and China (1000) sent more.
    Get your facts right Mr. lobbyist.

  • Thank you for your response. I get quite a bit from your posts and will continue to be enlightened and at times
    contrarian. I consider myself a conservative, US and Irish
    citizen but no party affiliation. I believe in capitalism but respect those who differ. Stay well.

  • At last you have provided a link supporting your claim, and I thank you. That was from 2006, when Fidel had a serious health crisis. Perhaps it was wishful thinking on the part of Negroponte, but the old Cuban revolutionary is one tough fellow. He pulled through and is doing relatively fine now. Subsequent to that period, have there been any other reports from the US intelligence agencies claiming Castro is dead?

    I find the speculations on whether Fidel is dead or not pointless. It seems to me the Cuban government will notify the public soon enough after he passes away. They won’t try to hide the fact for days.

    My agenda is to engage in fact based discussions on topics involving Cuba. No, I am not paid for these comments.

    I’m sorry if you find my in my comments nothing but angst and hostility. I have strong opinions on the topic of the Castro regime, while at the same time I have a deep affection for the Cuban people and their culture. I have read a great deal of Cuban literature, history, enjoy Cuban music & popular culture, and own a small collection of DVDs of Cuban films. You could say, it’s a hobby of mine.

    As a Canadian tourist, I visited Cuba twice. Not much compared to some others here. Subsequently, I decided not to return to Cuba until democracy is restored. I do not with to provide cash to the corrupt military oligarchy which owns the hotels and tour busses. I support democracy, freedom and respect for human rights in Cuba. Is that such a bad thing? I do not defend US foreign policy towards Cuba and have written many comments critical of US foreign policy.

    If you are an admirer of the Castro regime, then you may find many of my comments hostile. If you truly care about the Cuban people, you should find in my comments compassion and respect. it all depends on how you look at it.

  • The link I attempted to post was not accepted. The point simply is that Castro has been dying for years and the US intelligence dept. has stated that Castro would be dead by year end and that’s a fact! Simply put, he looks a lot better than most people his age and he certainly isn’t dying in my eyes.

  • The link you posted works, and it does not support your claim.

    Again, unless you can post even one link to support the claim that the US intelligence agencies are claiming Fidel has been dead for the past six years, then your assertion is nonsense. I follow news and read books on Cuba regularly. I haven’t seen even one statement quoting a CIA analyst claiming that Fidel is dead.

  • I sent the link but it wasn’t posted. The US intelligence
    agencies has had Castro on his death bed now for well
    over seven years. I think most understood what this meant.

  • During spring training, Jose Abreu was gracious enough to autograph a baseball for my son and a small Cuban flag I brought with me. He’s a terrific ball player!

  • As I said, rumours among Cubans on & off the island, but not as you claimed “The US intelligence agency has had Fidel dead now for over six years”.

    Unless you are claiming Perez Hilton is a secret CIA agent…?

  • Griffin, I sent three links but they’re not posting. I’ll see if I can
    do this another way.

  • Cubans are good ballplayers. Chicago’s Jose Abreu is the AL rookie of the year this year. I am a Giants fan and was excited to learn we signed Daniel Carbonell earlier this year. My perspective is that it’s too bad that Cuba’s INDER insists on taking their pound of flesh from Cuban players who have the opportunity to play in foreign countries. When a Cuban musician has a concert in a foreign country, he does not have to give 60% of his salary to UNEAC or the Culture Ministry, so why should Cuban ballplayers have to pay INDER?

  • I am not aware of any “US intelligence agency” claiming Fidel dead now for over six years. Do you have a link to support that assertion?

    Rumours of his demise have run through Cubans on and off the island, but these are nothing more than rumours.

  • Moses….so what was your positive spin on a Cuban baseball players?….and from what “perspective”?

  • You know what amazes me? The US intelligence agency has had Fidel dead now
    for over six years. In fact, a few years back Miami Cuban’s were getting ready to celebrate because he was dead. Two things that come to my mind. First, our
    intelligence department needs a revamping and second the man is beginning
    to look better than me. I’m getting older and he’s not. Plus he’s blogging full
    steam and is far from dead. Regarding the Ebola fight I do give a salute to
    Cuba’s effort.

  • Because it`s not a, FOX news, CNN, UNIVISION, Washington Post, New York Times, they call it Propaganda. The UN, request to the world to help fighting this virus, The Head line in the USA, media said, The US Government had send a military personal to fight EBOLA, and Cuba today`s news said, CUBA send Doctors to Fight EBOLA, you judge over.

  • What chance do you think the U.S.A. has if Ebola REALLY arrives here?! (and it will). With our dysfunctional, for-profit, medical system, with folks so desperate to work (because they don’t receive sick-days, or are penalized if they do) that they come to their jobs even when running a fever and coughing, with folks only dragging themselves in to the E.R. when they already have advanced symptoms, etc. On YouTube videos (too graphic for most of our cable and satellite news sources) from what I see in Liberia, Sierra Leon, etc., it looks like civil society is in the process of disintegrating; ebola sufferers at the hospital doors being denied entrance, all sorts of folks dying–or alreadydead– lying in the streets and on the sidewalks, with angry mobs surrounding dying ebola sufferers, or hospital workers attempting to be gate keepers at the hopitals entrances, etc. You think a ban of flights from West Africa will isolate the spread of the virus? Think again. During the worldwide epidemic of Spanish influenza in 1918, it spread, and people died, even in the most remote areas (as revealed recently by some Inuit bodies dug up in Labrador). Unlike West Africa, where well over half the ebola victims die, so far in the U.S.A. the record has been much better; however our medical system is woefully unprepared for a MASS outbreak of ebola–or any mass communicable disease. Instead, we are in the process of CLOSING DOWN hospitals (as evidenced near where I live; the only hopsital for the small city of North Adams, Massachusetts, recently closed its doors because it proved unprofitable to the corporations. Now, patients must travel almost an hour north, to Bennington, VT, or almost an hour south, to Pittsfield, MA, to receive in-patient medical treatment. As “King Charles II” sez to “Dr. Merivel” in the great 1995 film, RESTORATION (which takes place in late 17th Century London), “The plague is coming! “It will soon be here!”

  • Actually, totalitarian regimes like Cuba have a clear advantage: The Castros would have no problem declaring a national emergency, using the army to quarantine people and moving quickly to separate the infected from the general population. Crushing the civil rights of the Cuban people especially for the right reasons would come easy for the Castros.

  • Am I the only one who thinks Cuba doesn’t have a chance if Ebola hits them? I would be reaching out for help as well if I were them

  • Indeed, but not just theirs.
    What I dislike is the boasts like” the first to reply”, “the best doctors in the world”, …..
    That is just propaganda. These Cuban doctors and nurses can contribute greatly within the framework created b y the western aid missions that create and supply the infrastructure as well as sending doctors and nurses.

  • Not true. Read my comments about the Nacional Ballet de Cuba or Cuban baseball players or Cuban boxers and especially Cuban women. (I married one). I do give Cuba credit for sending hundreds of medical personnel at first request. Here’s my gripe: Fidel’s comment was intended to send a false message that the US was NOT already cooperating with the medical; staff in the field is West Africa. Not true. Also, the work that is being done to develop a vaccine in both Canada and the US would not be helped by Cuban involvement. Fidel simply wants to horn in on the credit and this is not the time for even thinking about that stuff or keeping score as to who did what for whom.

  • Thank you for this Information, if you are right then fidel is just throwing a little fuel on propaganda as you stated

  • Whilst in principle cooperation between Cuba and the USA can be a good thing it also goes to demonstrate that Fidel Castro has not retired from running the show.

  • Unfortunately, the differences between Cuba and the U.S. are not petty and the efforts to fight Ebola are global, so this public pronouncement in Cuba’s official newspaper can only be described as propaganda. However, there are hopefully behind the scenes attempts on both sides to cooperate in the fight against Ebola.

  • It’s not about whose mission is larger. If they help even one person then they did their job and should be recognized.

  • The Castro “government” hides epidemics from the population and those who report about it are sent to jail!

    AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL: On 16 September 2012 Calixto Ramón Martínez Arias, a journalist working for the unofficial news agency Hablemos Press, was arrested by the Cuban Revolutionary Police (Policía Revolucionaria de Cuba) at José Martí International Airport in Havana. He had been investigating allegations that medicine provided by the World Health Organization to fight the cholera outbreak (which began in mid-2012) was being kept at the airport instead of being distributed, as the Cuban government was allegedly trying to downplay the seriousness of the outbreak. Upon his arrest, Calixto Ramón Martínez Arias was taken to the Santiago de las Vegas police station, located near the airport – January 30, 2013

  • Moses it seems it would kill you ever to have a positive comment! In looking at aid in the fight against Ebola we are talking about on-site assistance, which is desperately needed. Cuba should get credits for quick response. For instance Australia is hanging back – as are other potential “aids’. Incidentally I have been told by medical personnel that the Cuban doctors are well regarded in the profession.
    Canada has come up with a potential vaccine, now undergoing tests before being used in the field.

  • Cuba is on the same plain as all the rest.
    It on took the “propaganda high ground”.
    On the African ground Cuban doctors are just one of the missions there and by far not the largest.

  • No need for Fidel to get involved. Cubans and Americans work great together in the field. Fidel is just looking for more propaganda exposure.

    In Haiti Cuban doctors are already working in field hospitals set up by the US army with medicines supplied by the US government and US charities.

    In Liberia the Cuban doctors will work in a hospital created in existing buildings by the US military.
    Source: ¿Dónde y en qué circunstancias trabajarán los médicos cubanos en
    Liberia? ––ebola-liberia/77339.html

  • Working directly with Cuba would hinder US progress in developing a vaccine. There are at least two vaccines beginning human trials shortly and Cuba would be able to offer little assistance to this rigorous process. This statement is an example of what Fidel does best, talk big and walk small.

  • Don’t worry yourself, Fidel, we’ll take it if we need it.

  • Cuba once again, has taken the high ground. Will President Obama live up to his Nobel Prize recognition, and put petty differences behind us, in time of crisis?

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