Surprise: US Sees Cuba in Haiti

By Circles Robinson

Havana balcony. Photo: Rafique

HAVANA TIMES, Jan. 22 — The US government’s Voice of America acknowledged Friday the efforts of more than 400 Cuban doctors and health workers in Haiti.

The move could lead to a collaboration with medicines needed at several field hospitals set up by the Cubans for treating the earthquake victims.

“The massive international relief effort in Haiti has received a boost from Cuba, which has more than 400 health workers, many of them doctors, working throughout the devastated country.  The government in Havana has also aided United States relief efforts by opening restricted Cuban airspace to American planes flying medical evacuation missions,” states VOA in an article titled Cuba Aids Haiti Relief.

An unconfirmed report posted by the Miami Herald on Saturday cites a US State Department source as saying Washington “has offered medical supplies to Cuban doctors in earthquake-devastated Haiti, but that the Cubans have not yet formally agreed to accept the aid.”

Havana Times ran a post on Jan. 14th titled “US and Cuba Could Bond for Haiti”,  on the earthquake relief effort.  “Moving beyond the cold war stasis in US-Cuba relations is a priority of Barack Obama’s administration, and the devastation in Haiti provides a platform to provide relief for a desperate nearby nation and build collaboration between Cuba and the US,” said journalist Steve Clemons in The Guardian.

The Cuban press reported on Saturday that the island’s medical personnel —417 strong— have so far attended more than 18,000 injured Haitians, performing 1,700 surgeries many of a complicated nature. Most of the Cuban doctors were already working in Haiti before the earthquake in a long-term medical collaboration agreement with the local government.

Meanwhile, the United Nations put out a call on Friday for countries to immediately increase their help for the Haiti emergency relief effort as well as for the necessary medium and long range assistance.

Over a half million Haitians who lost their homes are being lodged in hundreds of tent cities.  Ministry of Interior sources told AFP that as of Thursday over 111,000 are confirmed dead from the earthquake and at least 193,000 injured.

2 thoughts on “Surprise: US Sees Cuba in Haiti

  • I suggest that the US military realise that their exit strategy for Haiti resides on having a health system in place and they sure as hell aren’t going to be the ones to provide it (seeing the hornets nest that trying to provide one for US citizens in their own country has provided to Obama).

    The US and Cuban military have quite friendly relations – they meet over coffee each month to discuss access to Guantanamo.

  • NOTE: Today’s (Sun.Jan.24th, 2010) N.P.R. morning news program “Weekend Edition” had a nice, five- minute segment on the Cuban doctors in Haiti (“Cuban Doctors Unsung Heroes of Haiti”). Audio version or summary also available at the N.P.R. (National Public Radio) website, or any local NPR affiliate.

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