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28346: Bellegarde-Smith: Preval grateful for Cuban medical assistance (fwd)

From: P D Bellegarde-Smith <pbs@csd.uwm.edu>

Havana. April 19, 2006 - Granma International, English Edition


"The Cuban doctors work in places where Haitians don’t dare go"

IN Havana President-Elect of Haiti René Préval expressed his
satisfaction at reestablishing cooperation with Cuba, particularly in
the area of health.

Minutes before his departure after a working visit to the island,
Préval said that during his stay very precise decisions were made,
especially relating to medical coverage in his country.

Referring to his talks with President Fidel Castro, the Haitian leader
described them as fraternal and intense. They were not diplomatic
talks, but instead were friendly and addressed global political issues,
above all those concerning South-South relations and bilateral ties
between Cuba and Haiti, he added.

Préval affirmed that the encounter with the Cuban leader resulted in
very concrete points, to be addressed in more depth by a joint
committee session of the two nations, scheduled for the end of June or
early July.

In that context, a varied delegation composed of agronomist, health
workers, artists, and specialists of other sectors accompanied Préval
on this visit.

Highlighted among the priorities established by the president-elect of
Haiti was his commitment to the integration of Latin American and the
Caribbean, and in particular, the promotion of relations with Cuba.

The president-elect thanked Havana for sending doctors to Haiti and for
training hundreds of Haitian students as future physicians.

"The Cuban doctors are working in places where Haitian professionals do
not dare venture," he emphasized. The Cuban medical brigades, located
in remote areas, have made more than 8 million consultations and
performed some 100,000 operations, in a little more than six years.

In addition, an important number of Haitian patients have received
treatment in the eastern province of Santiago de Cuba, many of them
through Operation Miracle, a Cuban-Venezuelan project offering free
ophthalmologic attention to poor patients in Latin America and the
Caribbean. In the case of Haiti, some 600 affected persons have
received medical attention and have undergone surgery.