Cuba on Wednesday slammed a “dishonest campaign” allegedly carried out by the US to discredit Havana’s international medical cooperation and withdraw its doctors from Brazil.
The foreign ministry said as “part of that offensive, the US government has unleashed an array of pressures and blackmails against the Pan-American Health Organization [PAHO].”
“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,” it claimed about the program that was launched last year.
“Said Program has been the target of the most gross disparagement campaign launched by the United States and the current Brazilian government.”
It called Washington’s concern regarding Cuba’s cooperation with the program “neither legitimate nor relevant” and urged PAHO to reconsider its ruling.
Cuba said thanks to the program, Cuban doctors in Brazil assisted more than 113 million patients in over 3,600 municipalities and provided permanent health coverage to 60 million Brazilians.
It cited a survey by the Federal University of Minas Gerais in Brazil that said 95% of patients indicated they were “pleased or very pleased” with the program.
“If Cuba had not been forced to withdraw its doctors from Brazil, they could have contributed to tackle and control the COVID-19 pandemic in that country, which is currently the second most affected by this disease in the world,” it said.
The ministry underlined the withdrawal decision was made because of “the servile behavior of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who adopted a contemptuous and threatening attitude towards our cooperation workers.”
“The US government’s attempt to manipulate international and regional bodies to its will is disgusting,” it said. “The United States went far beyond that and opposed the election of Cuba as a member of the Executive Committee of PAHO, an action that failed to succeed thanks to the unanimous support that Cuba’s candidature received.”
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