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GlobalPost Reports On Cuba's Medical Outreach To Africa

GlobalPost reports on Cuba’s medical outreach to Africa, writing, “A generation ago, Fidel Castro sent Cuban soldiers to intervene in African civil conflicts and fight the Cold War against U.S. proxies. Now, Cuba’s doctors are fanning out across the continent as the island expands its role in administering medical services to some of the world’s most ailing countries.” The news service continues, “Some 5,500 Cubans are already working in 35 of Africa’s 54 countries, Cuban Foreign Ministry official Marcos Rodriguez told reporters this week at a press conference in Havana,” noting, “Of those, 3,000 are health professionals, and 2,000 are doctors, he said.”

“For Cuba the effort is good philanthropy, good diplomacy and, in some cases, good business,” according to GlobalPost, which adds, “The Cuban missionaries are part of a widening global medical outreach that has boosted Havana’s ties around the world and earned billions in hard currency for the cash-strapped Castro government.” The news service reports, “While Cuba sends physicians to Africa’s poorest countries and grants scholarships for their students to study medicine on the island, it does a brisk business with more prosperous countries on the continent — especially those that are rich with oil and poor in health professionals” and notes, “The specific details of each arrangement between Cuba and the countries that receive its doctors and other professionals are not public” (Miroff, 6/10).

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