Haiti: Former President Thanks Cuban Doctor's Help to his Country

News from Cuba | Friday, 18 March 2011

Haiti's former president and priest Jean Bertrand Aristide, who arrived this Friday in his country after being seven years on exile in South Africa, thanked Cuban doctors for their efforts in Haiti, specially in the fight against cholera.

In a press conference upon arriving at the Toussaint Louverture International Airport of Port-au-Prince, Aristide said in Spanish: “who knows how many people would have died without their help! May the light reach others!

The presence of the Cuban medical brigade collaborating in Haiti since 1998 was strengthened firstly after the January 2010 earthquake and then after the cholera outbreak of last October. Cuban doctors have treated 40% of all patients suffering the disease that has cost the life of more than 4,600 people, saving more than 70,800 Haitians.

According to official figures published by PL, members of the Cuban medical brigade are working in 156 health centers, 67 of which are part of a joint program with Venezuela.

Bertrand Aristide, who was welcomed at the airport by his supporters, was accompanying by family members, African American actor and human rights activist Danny Glover and Colombian former senator Piedad Cordova.

The former president thanked South African authorities, former president Nelson Mandela and those who supported that nation sheltered him after the 2004 coup d’état stirred by the United States.

Bertrand Aristide’s return to his home nation was preceded by several wekks of uncertainty since Rene Preval’s government granted on February an updated passport to Ira Kurzban, attorney of the former head of state.

Bertrand Aristide’s arrival took place two days before the second round of presidential elections that should define the new government which will face the challenge of rebuilding the nation after the devastating earthquake

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