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Cuba's 'friendship' again — Now to help combat Ebola Print E-mail

By RICKEY SINGH - Jamaica Observer, Sunday, September 21, 2014 - They say that a friend in times of need is truly a friend indeed. Well, Cuba has been routinely demonstrating practical examples of friendship to countries in need across continents, particularly in Africa and the Caribbean/Latin American region ever since its Fidel Castro-led revolution 55 years ago.

The latest example was last week's official disclosure that the Administration of President Raul Castro is sending a medical team of 62 doctors and 103 nurses to help combat the dreaded Ebola killer virus afflicting states across Africa.

Cuba's announced friendship outreach coincided with a significant aid package of human and financial resources authorised by President Barack Obama for Ebola-affected African states.

However, on a per capita basis, Cuba's response would be assessed as quite significant and consistent with the quality of humanitarian aid it so often provides for varied natural disasters and epidemics that have afflicted nations in Africa, Asia and our Caribbean/Latin American region.

This generosity of spirit, repeatedly demonstrated with alacrity by a comparatively small and poor nation in our western hemisphere, is most commendable. More so when measured against sacrifices being made by the Cuban people, who have acquired a robust reputation for international solidarity when and where it really matters.

Whether the human disasters have resulted from earthquakes, hurricanes, outbreaks of cholera and currently the Ebola virus, Cuban doctors, nurses, construction engineers, and other professionals are among aid workers struggling to provide relief for victims.

For all of its own political minuses and pluses, our comparatively small economic integration movement that is Caricom could well be pleased with the bold, creative initiative pursued in the 1960s by an original quartet of independent states - Jamaica, Guyana, Barbados, and Trinidad and Tobago - to end the organised diplomatic isolation of Cuba by an arrogant United States administration.
Since then, Cuba has continued - even under the presidential leadership of Barack Obama - to be treated with reactionary contempt in Washington when it comes to maintaining a hugely economically devastating trade, financial and economic embargo against that small Caribbean nation.

Sadly for the mighty, wealthy superpower it remains embarasssingly unable to muster more than a trio of votes (count Israel, with Uncle Sam) when it comes to the United Nations General Assembly annual countdown to end America's spiteful embargo against little Cuba, whose reputation as a friend to other nations in times of need remains legendary.

In welcoming Cuba's anti-Ebola aid mission to Africa, the member countries of ALBA (Alliance for the Peoples of Our America), noted that the medical group is comprised of 62 doctors and 165 nurses.

The Cuban medical mission to African states afflicted by Ebola is a response to a request for assistance from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and an appeal by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon to President Raul Castro. According to the UN, almost US$1 billion is needed to combat the Ebola outbreak.

Read more: Jamaica Observer

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