Fidel Castro telephoned several members of the Cuban medical brigade in Haiti to discuss their working conditions and send them greetings, Communist Party daily Granma reported Monday.
The newspaper said that last Saturday Castro spoke with more than a dozen aid workers in Haiti, including several graduates from the Latin American School of Medicine in Havana, who are fighting the cholera epidemic there.
The call was set up by Cuban Deputy Health Minister Marcia Cobas, whom Castro asked “to directly contact several dozen” of the medical team on the island to find out “if they are in good spirits despite their tough mission in Haiti,” Granma said.
The retired president also wanted to know the state of “health, security and safety” of medical personnel, how they will greet the New Year and how they are keeping in touch with their families.
The daily also said that all members of the Cuban medical brigade in Haiti will receive a card of congratulations “personalized and signed” by Fidel Castro on the occasion of the 52nd anniversary of the victory of the Cuban Revolution, to be celebrated on Jan. 1.
Castro has referred to the situation in Haiti in several of his “Reflections” articles, and in the latest he criticized former U.S. President Bill Clinton for ignoring the work of Cuba’s medical brigades in the impoverished Caribbean nation in a discussion of recovery efforts following the Jan. 12 earthquake that killed some 300,000 people and left a million homeless.
According to official figures, Cuba currently has a total of 1,298 aid workers engaged in the treatment and prevention of cholera, which has claimed more than 2,600 lives.
Last week Havana sent Haiti a further 57 doctors and nurses to “strengthen” the Cuban medical team’s presence in the fight against cholera at some 50 treatment centers, according to Cuba’s official media.