The first of nearly 400 Cuban doctors assigned to Ecuador were pulled back recently at the request of Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno.
Cuba’s Health Minister Jose Angel Portal met with the doctors on their return and commended them for their work and contribution to the people of Ecuador.
He also denied any political activities by the doctors as charged by President Moreno.
The newly formed Ecuadorian government alleged that during the recent social upheaval in the country “there was an unusual flow of foreigners in the country with an official Cuban passport, arriving as healthcare workers.”
The government subsequently announced its unilateral decision to terminate health accords between the two countries.
Cuba’s Health Ministry blames Washington for the dispute, accusing the U.S. of trying to “sabotage” and “discredit” the prestige of its renowned international healthcare cooperation, also known as medical diplomacy.
“At all times, Cuban professionals have strictly adhered to carrying out the functions entrusted to them by Ecuador’s health system in strict compliance with the signed agreements,” the ministry said in a recent statement.
Cuba began medical cooperation with Ecuador in 1992. It was expanded in 2009 through a framework cooperation agreement in health matters signed during then Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa’s visit to Havana.
Some 3,565 Cuban doctors have worked in Ecuador, attending to millions of patients and carrying out 212,360 surgeries, according to the Cuban government.
Pollyanna Davy, Readers Bureau, Fellow
Edited by Jesus Chan
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