Bill Clinton Praises Cuban and Venezuelan Aid to Haiti

10-02-09, 10:28 am

HAVANA, Cuba, Oct 1 (acn) Former US President Bill Clinton, now appointed as UN special envoy to Haiti, praised the support given by Cuba and Venezuela to that Caribbean nation to improve its precarious social and economic situation.

Granma newspaper reported this Thursday that the acknowledgement is part of a report presented by Clinton to the Americas Conference in Miami.

Clinton said that the last time he was in Haiti he inquired about what was being done in terms of prevention prior to the hurricane season and he learned that “(Venezuelan president) Hugo Chavez had donated $87 million.”

Haiti used the money to purchase machinery to remove land at the places that were affected by the floods caused by last year’s hurricanes.

The report highlights that “Latin America is helping Haiti now like it never did before.”

An article published by Radio Habana Cuba’s website states that, up to date, over 2100 Cuban health professionals have helped the Haitian people since 1998.

This humanitarian force has treated, in a decade, over six million people for free, mostly at their own settlements, regardless of how inhospitable and remote the places could be.

Under the Cubans’ care, over 110,000 children were born and 228,000 people underwent surgeries, which has translated in an improvement of health levels in places where never before a doctor had stayed permanently.

Frequently the Cuban specialists are the only ones available in a country where over 80 percent of those with a university degree have emigrated.

Cuban ophthalmologists also provide their services through the “Miracle Operation” free eye care program, which started in Haiti in 2005 and that has helped over 155,000 patients improve or recover their sight.

Such health attention, never seen in Haiti before, was also accompanied by the construction of three Comprehensive Diagnosis Centers, with another seven planned for the future.

Meanwhile, 554 Haitians have graduated as doctors at the Santiago de Cuba Caribbean Medical Faculty and have returned to practice in their country. They, along with the Cuban doctors, render their services in 27 Haitian towns and villages.

From the Cuban News Agency