In a statement today, Cuba’s Foreign Ministry denounced what it said was an array of blackmails and pressures against the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO). The statement said “Under the threat of forgoing the payment of its financial contribution, the United States, the main contributor to the PAHO budget, has forced the Secretariat of that organization to accept what is called “an external audit of PAHO’s role in Brazil’s ‘More Doctors’ Program”, which involved the participation of thousands of Cuban professionals, at the express request of the Workers’ Party’s popular government.”
“The program has been the target of a gross disparagement campaign, launched by the United States and the current Brazilian government,” Cuba said.
It pointed out that t “The ‘More Doctors’ Program, which has been audited several times before with positive results, was established by virtue of a tripartite agreement achieved between the Cuban government, the then Brazilian government and PAHO.”
Between 2013 and 2018, Cuban doctors in Brazil assisted 113-million patients in more than three thousand municipalities and provided permanent health coverage to 60 million Brazilians.
“Thanks to this program, primary health care was expanded; health services access and offers were increased; health indicators improved and hospital admissions decreased due to the preventive work carried out by Cuban doctors,” the Cuban government said.
They pointed out that “If Cuba had not been forced to withdraw its doctors from Brazil, they could have tackled and control the COVID-19 pandemic in that country, which is currently the second most affected by this disease in the world.”
The statement informed that “Cuba decided to discontinue its participation in the ‘More Doctors’ Program, in the face of the servile behaviour of the Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who adopted a contemptuous and threatening attitude towards our cooperation workers and, in open disregard for PAHO and the agreement reached by this organization with Cuba, imposed modifications on the terms of the Program, which led to non-compliance with originally agreed guarantees and the imposition of new conditions to the permanence of our professionals in that country, which were unacceptable.”
“The US government’s attempt to manipulate international and regional bodies to its will is disgusting. It is well known that the executive organs of PAHO have not adopted any single document mandating or legitimatizing the implementation of this audit or the drafting of its so-called “Terms of Reference.” The Cuban government declared.
However, a group headed by the United States to include Brazil and Canada, have drawn up a terms of reference for an audit of the Cuban Doctors programme which is being led by a US law firm, and designed as a head-on attack against multilateralism; a gross politically-motivated manipulation of PAHO and an extension of the aggression against Cuba, the statement intimated.
Cuba’s Minister of Public Health Dr. Jose Ángel Portal Miranda, denounced of this manoeuvre at the 58th meeting of the Directing Council of PAHO on September 28, pointing out that “the government of the United States is behind the pressures that are exerted on the Organization, against Cuba’s cooperative programs with member States of the region and the so-called “external audit” of the ‘More Doctors’ Program for Brazil.”
The United States went far beyond that and opposed the election of Cuba as member of the Executive Committee of PAHO, an action that failed to succeed thanks to the unanimous support that Cuba’s candidature received. During the sessions of the Council, several countries recognized and expressed their gratitude for the solidarity and cooperation offered by the Cuban medical staff to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cuba denounces that a spurious and mendacious evaluation is currently in the making, promoted by and to serve the aggressive purposes of the United States, in its effort to discredit Cuba’s international cooperation.
“It is unfortunate that, through this new manoeuvre, the US government is trying to damage Cuba’s relations with PAHO, which has historically been based on cooperation, respect, common identification of humanist goals and values and a determination to guarantee health quality services to the people. This has been the basis of a relation Cuba feels proud of,” the Cuban statement noted.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cuba reiterates Cuba’s firm commitment to the development and sustainability of its health system for the benefit of the Cuban people and the cooperation with the peoples in the region and elsewhere in the world,” it continued.
“Access to health care is a human right and the United States is committing a crime when it tries to deprive millions of persons of that inalienable right.
“As was expressed in the Declaration issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on December 5, 2019, it is both immoral and unacceptable that the dignity, professionalism and altruism of the more than 400,000 Cuban health cooperation workers, having accomplished missions in 164 countries during 56 years, are called into question.
“The tightened economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States against Cuba, whose effects are being particularly devastating in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic has not, nor will it prevent our country from sharing its scarce resources with other peoples in need in the world.
“Cuba has reinforced its international medical cooperation by sending more than 3 800 cooperation workers, organized in 52 medical brigades, to 39 countries and territories affected by the disease. These specialists have been joined by those who were already offering their services in 59 States, prior to the outbreak of the pandemic,” the Cuban statement concluded.
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