Declaration of the Ministry of Public Health of Cuba

The Ministry of Public Health of the Republic of Cuba, committed to the solidarity and humanistic principles that have guided Cuba’s medical cooperation for 55 years, has been participating in the Program More Doctors for Brazil since its inception in August 2013.  This initiative launched by Dilma Rousseff, who was at that moment the president of the Federal Republic of Brazil, pursued the double purpose of guaranteeing medical assistance to the majority of the Brazilian people, following the principle of universal health coverage promoted by the World Health Organization.

The program had planned the inclusion of Brazilian and foreign doctors who would go to work in poor and remote areas of that country.

Cuba’s participation in this program was arranged through the Pan-American Health Organization with one distinctive feature, for it was intended to fill the vacancies left by doctors from Brazil and other foreign nations.

During these five years of work, around 20 000 Cuban cooperation workers have assisted 113 359 000 patients in more than 3 600 municipalities.  They managed to provide health coverage to a universe of up to 60 million Brazilians at the moment when they accounted for 80 per cent of all the doctors who were taking part in the program. More than 700 municipalities were able to count on a doctor for the first time ever.

The work of Cuban doctors in areas of extreme poverty, in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Salvador de Bahia and the 34 Special Indigenous Districts, particularly in Amazonia, was largely recognized by the federal, state and municipal governments of that country and its population, 95 per cent of which expressed their acceptance, according to a survey carried out by the Federal University of Minas Gerais at the request of the Ministry of Health of Brazil.

On September 27, 2016, the Ministry of Public Health, in an official statement issued on a day close to the expiration date of the agreement and amidst the events associated to the legislative and judicial coup d’ etat against president Dilma Rousseff, announced that Cuba “would continue to honor its agreement with the Pan-American Health Organization for the implementation of the Program More Doctors, provided that the guarantees offered by local authorities were maintained”, something that has been so far respected.

Jair Bolsonaro, president elect of Brazil, who has made direct, contemptuous and threatening comments against the presence of our doctors, has declared and reiterated that he will modify the terms and conditions of the Program More Doctors, in full disregard of the Pan-American Health Organization and the agreement reached by this organization with Cuba, since he has questioned the qualification of our doctors and has conditioned their permanence in the program to a process of validation of their titles and established that contracts will only be signed on an individual basis.

The announced modifications impose conditions that are unacceptable and fail to ensure the guarantees that had been previously agreed upon since the beginning of the Program, which were ratified in 2016 with the re-negotiation of the Terms of Cooperation between The Pan-American Health Organization and the Ministry of Health of Brazil and the Cooperation Agreement between the Pan-American Health Organization and the Ministry of Public Health of Cuba.  These unacceptable conditions make it impossible to maintain the presence of Cuban professionals in the Program.

Consequently, in the light of this unfortunate reality, the Ministry of Public Health of Cuba has decided to discontinue its participation in the Program More Doctors and has informed so to the Director of the Pan-American Health Organization and the political leaders of Brazil who founded and defended this initiative.

The decision to bring into question the dignity, professionalism and altruism of Cuban cooperation workers who, with the support of their families, are currently offering their services in 67 countries is unacceptable. During the last 55 years, a total of 600 000 internationalist missions have been accomplished in 164 nations, with the participation of 400 000 health workers who, in quite a few cases, have fulfilled this honorable task more than once. Their feats in the struggle against the Ebola virus in Africa, blindness in Latin America and the Caribbean and cholera in Haiti as well as the participation of 26 brigades of the International Contingent of Doctors Specialized in Disaster Situations and Great Epidemics “Henry Reeve” in Pakistan, Indonesia, Mexico, Ecuador, Peru, Chile and Venezuela, among other countries, are worthy of praise.

In the overwhelming majority of the missions that have been accomplished, all expenses have been covered by the Cuban government.

Likewise, 35 613 health professionals from 138 countries have been trained in Cuba at absolutely no cost as an expression of our solidarity and internationalist vocation.

All Cuban cooperation workers have preserved their posts and their full salary in Cuba, together with all due labor and social benefits, just as the rest of the workers of the National Health System.

The experience of the Program More Doctors for Brazil and Cuba’s participation in it show that it is indeed possible to structure a South-South Cooperation Program under the auspices of the Pan-American Health Organization in order to promote the achievement of its goals in our region.  The United Nations Development Program and the World Health Organization have described it as the main example of good practices in triangular cooperation and the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals.

The peoples from Our America and from all over the world know that they will always be able to count on the solidarity and humanistic vocation of our professionals.

The Brazilian people, who turned the Program More Doctors into a social achievement and, from the very beginning, has trusted Cuban doctors, recognized their virtues and appreciated the respect, sensitivity and professionalism with which they have assisted them, will understand who are to be held responsible for our doctors’ not being able to continue offering their fraternal contribution in that country.

Havana, November 14, 2018.

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Cuban President Concludes Transit Visit to UK

London, Nov 14 (Prensa Latina) Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel on Wednesday ended a transit visit to the United Kingdom, as the culmination of his first tour of Europe and Asia after taking office in April.

Diaz-Canel arrived in London on Monday from Laos, his last stopover in a tour that started in France, with a brief visit, and continued in Russia, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, China and Vietnam.

During his stay in London, Diaz-Canel was welcomed by several local officials and met with representatives of the British Cuba solidarity movement and from the Cuban Embassy here.

He noted his meeting with British Finance Minister Philip Hammond, who is considered the second most important figure in the British Government, with who he reviewed the state of bilateral relations.

On his Twitter account, Diaz-Canel recalled Hammond's visit to Cuba in 2016, when he was the British secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.

'It was the first official visit by a British foreign minister to our country since 1958,' Diaz-Canel underlined on Twitter.

The president of the Councils of State and of Ministers also met with executives from a score of British companies that are members of the Cuba Initiative, an organization that was created in 1995 to boost trade between the two countries.

When inaugurating the forum at a hotel in London, the British co-president of the Cuba Initiative, Lord David Triesman, welcomed the statesman, 'the first Cuban president who visits my country and my hometown,' he noted.

Lord Triesman, who was the British Foreign minister in the 1990s, expressed commitment to relaunch economic and commercial relations with Cuba.

In that line, he announced the holding in Havana, in the late first semester of 2019, of a meeting of the Cuba Initiative, one of three organizations that are affiliated to the Caribbean Council.

After thanking the members of that entrepreneurial committee for attending the meeting, Diaz-Canel pointed out that the creation of that institution marked the beginning of a different relationship between Cuba and the United Kingdom.

In addition, it built a bridge in cooperation and collaboration and a legacy that no one can deny, he stressed.

According to Diaz-Canel, there are grounds today that guarantee the continuity and development of that project, because we know each other and we know the obstacles and adversities to be overcome, he added.

'I think that all grounds and all possibilities exist for us to reach a new stage. A stage in which we will work with more intensity, the Cuban president underlined.

Diaz-Canel took advantage of the meeting with the Cuba Initiative to repeat his Government's will to continue to work for the development of economic, commercial and cooperation ties with its British counterpart.

He noted that Cuba expects a growth that will guarantee the main social gains achieved after the triumph of the Revolution in 1959.

However, he charged that the lengthy blockade imposed by the United States on Cuba is the biggest obstacle to the development of Cuban-British ties, due to the extraterritorial nature of the Washington-imposed sanctions.

On Tuesday, Diaz-Canel met with members of the Solidarity with Cuba Campaign and trade union leaders, whom he expressed gratitude for their friendship and affection during these nearly 60 years of the revolutionary process. He told the representatives of the solidarity movement that his transit in the United Kingdom became a working visit, obviously alluding to the busy agenda that he had in this European country.

At his meeting with Labor Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, Diaz-Canel reviewed the ties between the British social-democratic organization and the Communist Party of Cuba and verified the good state of relations between the two States.

He also met with Baroness Angela Smith of Basildone and with a group of British parliamentarians.

Diaz-Canel also met with Karen Lee, who is the coordinator of the Multi-Party Group for Cuba at the House of Commons.

He shared reflections with British politicians at the Westminster Palace.

During his tight agenda, the Cuban head of State paid tribute on Wednesday to Karl Marx at the Highgate Cemetery, in London, where the remains of the German philosopher, who is considered one of the greatest thinkers in history, are buried.

The president laid a wreath at the tomb of the communist intellectual on behalf of the Cuban people. Later, he described Marx as one of the most influential figures in the history of humankind on his Twitter account.

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Lucho Gatica, Farewell to a Chilean Music Icon

Santiago de Chile, Nov 14 (Prensa Latina) He made bolero his religion and acquired fame the same in Cuba as in Mexico, but still went further, to the United States, to become himself icon: Lucho Gatica, a farewell that marks the mourning in his native Chile.

Luis Enrique Gatica Silva had just turned 90 years old. His death in Mexico, where he lived, shook social networks in tribute to one of the essential figures of the romantic song.

He kept the Lucho Gatica forever and reached the firmament in different ways.

'My father is loved in Cuba, he is loved in Spain, he is loved in Brazil, in Mexico, and in so many countries, but of course this Chilean affection is different and special for him,' said his Mexican daughter Juanita Gatica Cortes.

Chile venerates him today with the decree of official mourning announced by Interior Minister Andres Chadwick, who joined in the praise to one of the greatest ambassadors of Latin American music in the world.

'We have decreed this day of official mourning for the death at 90 years of our great Lucho Gatica. The king of the bolero, filled us with emotion and pride with his music around the world,' Chadwick wrote on Twitter.

A bronze statue was unveiled at the Regional Theater, with the figure of the winner of the Latin Grammy Award for Excellence in 2007 and that of his brother Arturo, in his native Rancagua, central Chile.

His last album, Historia de un amor, dates back to 2013. He made duos with the Italian Laura Pausini, the Portuguese-Canadian Nelly Furtado and the Canadian Michael Bubble, among others.

But much earlier, Lucho Gatica became essential to the romantics of the 1950s and 1960s with hits such as Piel Canela, Contigo in la distancia, Besame mucho, El reloj, No me platiques más, and Chilean classic Yo vendo unos ojos negros.

In January 2008 he was included in the Hollywood Walk of Fame, with number 2354. He had three marriages, the latest with Leslie Deeb. He left seven children and 11 grandchildren.

To consolidate his fame also in the English-speaking market, he came to alternate in the United States, where he settled after his first divorce, none other than with Elvis Presley and Nat King Cole.

The municipality of Rancagua decreed three days of communal mourning for the death of the singer. They called him Master of the bolero, and for his admirers what stood out most was his soft and seductive timbre.

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Exhibition of Colombian Cinema in Cuba

Havana, Nov 14 (Prensa Latina) The Colombian Embassy in Cuba invited moviegoerts to enjoy the Colombian Film Festival, scheduled from November 19 to 22 in this capital.

According to the statement, the exhibition will begin with film Mama (2017), by moviemaker Philippe Van Hissenhoven, who addresses a family conflict related to everyday life, forgiveness and the value of life.

In addition, moviegoers will also enjoy The Day of the Goat (2017), a film by the new filmmaker Samir Oliveros Zayed, recognized as the first film shot on the island of Providencia (Colombia), and starring in natural actors who speak Creole

According to the synopsis, the film is a story of two teenage brothers (Rita and Corn) who live a 24-hour adventure after accidentally running over a goat with his father's truck.

The cinematographic proposals Keyla, by filmmaker Viviana Gómez Echeverry, and animated adventure and fantasy Lila's Book, by filmmaker Marcela Rincón González, complete the list of movies to be screened in Havana.

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Goverment Of Cuba Quits “MÁS MÉDICOS” Program in Brazil

In a report published in the Cuba Debate Web Page the following is expressed … “The elected president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, with direct, derogatory and threatening references to the presence of our doctors, has declared and reiterated that he will modify terms and conditions of the Más Médicos Program, with disrespect to the Pan American Health Organization and to what was agreed with Cuba, by questioning the preparation of our doctors and conditioning their permanence in the program to the revalidation of the title and as the only way of contracting individual”.

According to the government of Cuba (MINSAP) .. “The announced modifications impose unacceptable conditions and breach the guarantees agreed since the beginning of the Program, which were ratified in 2016 with the renegotiation of the Cooperation Term between the Pan American Health Organization and the Ministry of Health of Brazil and the Cooperation Agreement between the Pan American Health Organization and the Ministry of Public Health of Cuba These inadmissible conditions make it impossible to maintain the presence of Cuban professionals in the Program “.

Therefore, in view of this unfortunate reality, the Ministry of Public Health of Cuba has taken the decision not to continue participating in the Más Más Program and has informed the Director of the Pan American Health Organization and the Brazilian political leaders who founded and defended this initiative.”

According to the Cuban government, “it is not acceptable to question the dignity, professionalism and altruism of Cuban collaborators who, with the support of their families, currently provide services in 67 countries.” In 55 years, 600,000 internationalist missions have been completed in 164 nations, in which more than 400,000 health workers have participated, who in many cases have fulfilled this honorable task on more than one occasion, highlighting the feats of the fight against Ebola in Africa, the blindness in Latin America and the Caribbean, cholera in Haiti and the participation of 26 brigades of the International Contingent of Physicians Specialized in Disasters and Large Epidemics “Henry Reeve” in Pakistan, Indonesia, Mexico, Ecuador, Peru, Chile and Venezuela, among other countries."

According to the Cuban government, “the experience of the Más Médicos Program for Brazil and the Cuban participation in it show that a South-South cooperation program can be structured under the auspices of the Pan American Health Organization to promote its goals. In our region, the United Nations Development Program and the World Health Organization qualify it as the main example of good practices in triangular cooperation and the implementation of the 2030 Agenda with its Sustainable Development Goals. ” Signed in Havana, November 14, 2018.

  • Published in Cuba

Cuban President Pays Tribute to Karl Marx in London

Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel paid tribute to Karl Marx today at the London cemetery in Highgate where the remains of the German philosopher rest.

The president of the island, who makes a transit visit to the United Kingdom after an international tour, visited on Wednesday the grave of one of the fathers of scientific socialism, considered one of the great thinkers of history, in the famed cemetery of the British capital.

Before his headstone, a pedestal of two meters high in the shape of a cube that holds an effigy of the philosopher who revolutionized the world, the Cuban head of state deposited a bouquet of flowers in the name of the Cuban people.

'We pay tribute to one of the great thinkers of humanity, Karl Marx, before his grave in the Highgate cemetery, in the year of the bicentennial of his birth and the 135th anniversary of his physical disappearance', the dignitary wrote in his account of the social network Twitter.

The members of the delegation accompanying the president of the Councils of State and Ministers of Cuba also placed flowers before the slab of one who is also seen as one of the fathers of scientific socialism, Marxism and historical materialism.

The headstone of Marx has inscribed a recorded message: 'Proletarians of all countries, unite', present in the last line of the Communist Manifesto, one of his best known works and written with his close friend Friedrich Engels.

Also it appears the phrase of the Thesis XI on Feuerbach (edited by Engels): The philosophers have only interpreted the world of different ways, but of what treats is to transform it.

Marx and Engels laid the foundations of scientific socialism and Marxism through the examination of history and its transformation.

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Cuban Churches Also Blockaded by the U.S.

The Cuban United Lutheran, Baptist and Evangelical churches have denounced in Havana the innumerable impacts caused in relations with other religious institutions by the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States on the island.

In statements to Prensa Latina, Antonio Santana, President of the Cuban Council of Churches, pointed out that the blockade carried out by the White House administration affects the delivery of biblical material to Cuba from solidarity entities of other nations.

The reverend also indicated that within the U.S. territory a large number of devotees are pressing for the elimination of the blockade against Cuba, which has been in force for almost 60 years.

Santana stressed the reestablishment of diplomatic relations with the United States, however, he regretted the decline in ties.

Havana and Washington re-established their diplomatic ties in July 2015, leading to high level visits and the signing of some 20 agreements, but Donald Trump's inauguration at the White House in January 2017 represented an escalation in hostility towards the island.

'We present our declaration against the blockade and its essentially pastoral mission emphasizes the comparison of life with death and the damages this U.S. policy causes to society in Cuba', Ismael Laborde, bishop of the United Evangelical Cuban Church, told Prensa Latina.

He added that relations with North American religious institutions are always carried out through third countries, making procedures and twinning with these difficult.

In this regard, Laborde emphasized the heavy visa processes faced by U.S. Lutheran pastors and the obstacles to sending books and materials essential to church activities.

The United Nations General Assembly approved on November 1, for the twenty-seventh consecutive time since 1992, a resolution demanded the end of the blockade against Cuba.

The text was supported by 189 of the 193 member states of the multilateral organization.

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Cuban envoy denied room at Hilton hotel in Fukuoka

Cuba's ambassador to Japan was denied a room at a Hilton hotel in Fukuoka in October on grounds he represents a country slapped with U.S. economic sanctions.

A company official in Tokyo defended the Hilton Fukuoka Sea Hawk's refusal to provide accommodation, saying the hotel chain is obliged to comply with U.S. law as it is U.S.-based.

But Fukuoka city authorities did not agree and issued an administrative directive to the hotel not to treat prospective guests that way again, citing the Japanese hotel business law that forbids refusal of accommodation based on an individual’s nationality.

The Cuban Embassy booked rooms for Ambassador Carlos Pereira and another embassy official through Tokyo-based Tonichi Travel Service Co.

The travel agency said it informed Hilton Fukuoka Sea Hawk via fax several days prior to the visit that one of the guests is the Cuban ambassador to Japan.

The travel agency said the hotel replied that it looked forward to welcoming them.

But when the ambassador and the embassy official arrived in Fukuoka on Oct. 2, the hotel refused to honor the reservations.

According to Tonichi Travel Service, the hotel called the travel company on Oct. 2 to say it could not allow the Cuban dignitaries to stay.

On Oct. 11, Hilton Fukuoka Sea Hawk sent a letter to the agency that said it “cannot accept guests who represent Cuba in an official capacity.”

The Cuban Embassy filed a complaint with the Foreign Ministry on Oct. 5, describing the hotel's treatment as shameful.

It also said applying U.S. law in Japan amounts to encroachment of this country's sovereignty.

The ministry referred the matter to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, which oversees the hotel business law.

Article 5 of the legislation dictates that hotel operators cannot refuse guests unless they are infected with a contagious disease or threaten to engage in illegal or other activity that will corrupt public morals.

The ministry concluded that Hilton Fukuoka Sea Hawk’s treatment of the Cuban officials fell foul of the law.

A labor ministry official handling the matter said the “Fukuoka city government issued an administrative directive for the hotel” to comply with Japanese law as it is licensed to operate under Japanese law.

In an interview with The Asahi Shimbun, Emiko Ogami, senior manager in charge of communications at Hilton Japan, Korea and Micronesia, explained that it is hotel policy worldwide to refuse accommodation to government officials, state companies and certain individuals of countries that are under U.S. economic sanctions.

Among the targeted countries are Cuba, Iran, North Korea and Syria, she said.

However, the Cuban Embassy questioned whether the hotel chain maintains a consistent policy as the ambassador stayed at the Hilton Fukuoka Sea Hawk in April.

Other U.S. hotel chains such as Hyatt and Sheraton said they do not refuse guests for the reasons cited by the Hilton group.

Ogami said the group is still considering its response to the administrative directive issued by the Fukuoka municipal government.

Japan backed a U.N. resolution calling on Washington to lift its sanctions against Cuba, now in their 27th year.

In 2006, the Mexican government ordered the operator of a Sheraton-affiliated hotel in Mexico City to pay 1.2 million pesos (about 13 million yen, or $114,000) as a fine for evicting 16 Cuban government delegates who were staying at the hotel.

The hotel operator cited the U.S. law on economic sanctions against Cuba, triggering a public outcry and accusations its approach violated Mexico's sovereignty.

The Mexican government decided the hotel’s policy ran counter to the Mexican commerce law that forbids discriminating against guests based on their nationality.

  • Published in Cuba
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