Date: Fri, 13 Nov 1998 06:58:12 -0800 (PST)
From: Robert Corbett <>
Subject: Cuba To Send Doctors to Haiti (fwd)
To: Bob Corbett <>
Message-ID: <Pine.3.89.9811130658.A19921-0100000@netcom5>

From: David E. Volk <>

Cuba To Send Doctors to Haiti

The New York Times, 12 November 1998

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP)—Cuba is sending 200 doctors to help Haiti, the first accord between the two countries since diplomatic relations were severed 36 years ago.

The agreement also includes collaboration in education, agriculture, tourism, and sports, Haitian Radio Metropole reported from Havana on Thursday.

It’s a historic moment in the relations between our two countries, the radio quoted acting Health Minister Jean Moliere as saying.

The agreement on the doctors, and for 100 Haitian medical school graduates to get specialized training in Cuban hospitals, was signed in Havana on Wednesday during a visit by Haitian President Rene Preval.

Haitian living standards have been dropping steadily for decades.

This year, Haiti ranked 159th out of 174 countries in the U.N. Human Development Index, which measures life expectancy, education and income. Cuba was No. 85, also down from No. 79 in 1996. The index said only 60 percent of Haitians have access to health care.

Preval arrived in Cuba on Monday for a weeklong visit, his first since Haiti renewed relations with Cuba.

Opposition politicians criticized Preval’s trip, saying it was inopportune.

It smacks of ideological nostalgia, said former President Leslie Manigat, alluding to Preval’s past left-wing activism. But, fundamentally, Preval wants to bring something positive back to the country, which is foundering.

The United States has not specifically reacted to Preval’s trip. About a dozen Caribbean countries have renewed diplomatic relations with Cuba in the past few years.

Diplomatic ties with Cuba were re-established in February 1996, as the last official act of former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. It was considered a slap in the face of the United States, which sent 20,000 troops to Haiti to oust a military dictatorship and restore Aristide in 1994.

Dictator Francois Papa Doc Duvalier withdrew his ambassador from Cuba in 1959, yet relations were never formally broken off. But in January 1962, Haiti cast the decisive vote excluding Cuba from the Organization of American States.