Cuban Minister of Public Health: The strength of the truth will always overcome lies

Oct 6, 2020 by

Cuba’s Minister of Public Health, Dr. José Angel Portal Miranda, commented that the U.S. should stop attacking Cuba and concentrate on taking better care of its own citizens. Photo: Minsap

“We condemn the gangster-like extortion with which the United States is pressuring the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) with the purpose of using this regional organization as an instrument in its obsessive aggression against our country,” stated President of the Republic of Cuba Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, in his remarks during the 75th Period of Ordinary Sessions of the United Nations General Assembly.

The conduct to which the President was referring was made public September 28, during the 58th meeting of the PAHO Directing Council. In a clearly politically motivated maneuver, immediately following the report by Cuba’s Minister of Public Health, José Angel Portal Miranda, the next speaker recognized was U.S. representative Garret Grigsby, who attempted to discredit the information presented.

According to the news agency Prensa Latina, Grigsby raised the spurious issue of trafficking in persons in our country and requested that the PAHO investigate Cuban internationalist medical brigades. Making use of his right to retort, Portal Miranda stated, “It is not Cuba which has politicized this forum. It is the government of the United States, which, given its inability to garner international support for its dishonest campaign against Cuban international medical cooperation, attempts to disrupt the work of this organization.

“If the United States were interested in the income of Cuban public health personnel, they would have lifted the blockade long ago. Instead of attacking Cuba, which has been able to protect its population and help others, the United States should improve its catastrophic response to the pandemic and guarantee the health of its citizens,” he added.

He insisted, “The richest country in the region, with more than 200,000 deaths as a result of COVID-19, incapable of protecting the lives and health of its citizens, lies and attempt to politicize the work of this organization.”

The Cuban minister was given only one minute to respond to the false allegations made by the United States, which constitutes a lack of respect for the work Cuba has carried out to combat trafficking in persons, and the national policy of zero tolerance for this crime.

“In the absence of support from the international community, which every year demands an end to its inhuman blockade against the Cuban people, the United States government has invented all these accusations which have been repeated here and we categorically reject,” he continued.

The Minister reiterated Cuba’s unconditional commitment to continue providing healthcare services for our people and our nation’s absolute conviction that international cooperation and solidarity are essential to saving humanity.

Prior to the disruptive U.S. proposal and his response, Portal Miranda reported on Cuba’s work to contain the epidemic on our island, noting that joint inter-sectoral work, rapid decision making, organization of service providers, and individualized care with a comprehensive approach, has allowed the country to achieve positive results in the battle against COVID-19.

“Our strength lies in having a single, inclusive, free and universally accessible National Public Health System that prioritizes primary care and has nine doctors for every 1,000 inhabitants,” he noted.

The Minister highlighted the work of health professionals, scientists and researchers, as well as the country’s treatment protocols and the use of domestically produced medications which have made possible the recovery of 87% of infected patients. He additionally reported on Cuba’s progress in the development of a candidate vaccine against the new coronavirus, currently in the clinical trials stage, all of which, he noted, has been accomplished despite the U.S. blockade.

Portal Miranda reaffirmed that nothing has stopped Cuba from providing quality health care for our people, without renouncing the principle of solidarity that distinguishes our nation, referring to the 52 brigades from the Henry Reeve Contingent which have collaborated in confronting the pandemic in 39 countries.

He noted that U.S. maneuvers against Cuba have now been extended to the World Health Organization, which has decided, with no legal mandate whatsoever, to conduct an external review of the Más Médicos program in Brazil, of which Cuba was not informed, despite its role as one of the principal participants in this cooperative effort.

“My country denounces and rejects these actions, which clearly serve political ends, and in which the Organization has been utilized in an attempt to disrupt relations with some member states,” the Minister insisted.

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