US Now Says Willing to Cooperate with Cuba against Ebola in Africa

Cuban health workers preparting for their mission to fight Ebola in Africa. Photo:

HAVANA TIMES — Despite the long ideological enmity between the two countries, the United States is willing to cooperate with Cuba in the fight against Ebola in West Africa, a US government official told dpa on Wednesday.

“We are ready to collaborate with all those who are affected by the virus and also coordinate all our efforts in th efield with the Cuban brigades and the international community,” said Nelson Arboleda of the governmental Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Arboleda participated in Havana at a meeting of specialists from the ALBA bloc of nations to coordinate regional cooperation in the fight against Ebola, invited by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).

“We support countries and the Ministries of Health in the Americas to ensure they have the skills to enable them to respond to a possible introduction of Ebola,” Arboleda told journalists beforehand.

“We are ready to cooperate with all the actors who are working in the region (Africa),” he said.

Cuba has taken a lead role by providing 250 doctors and health workers to the international fight against Ebola in West Africa, where the virus has killed about 5,000 people and has sickened more than 10,000.

In October, the Cuban government sent its health workers to Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, the three countries most affected by the outbreak. Cuba has a long tradition of sending humanitarian medical missions to Africa.

In recent days, there have been many calls for the United States to cooperate with Cuba in the fight against Ebola, although both countries have no formal diplomatic relations since the early 1960’s.  A New York Times editorial called on Washington to make available to the Cuban medical brigades its equipment and logistical capabilities in Africa.

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