Pakistan medical mission arrives in Havana to heroes' welcome

Campaign News | Saturday, 27 May 2006

President Musharraf says the example will always be in the hearts of his people

Havana 27 May: YESTERDAY afternoon, President Fidel Castro Ruz received the final group of medical personnel that provided assistance in the most remote regions of Pakistan, following the earthquake that occurred last October 8.

At the ceremony to receive the 66 internationalists from the Henry Reeve Contingent, which took place at José Martí International Airport, the leader of the Revolution exchanged words of welcome with those who had just arrived and praised the attitude they had adopted during their seven-month stay in that nation.

Elizabeth Rodríguez, a social worker for the Operation Miracle program, stated that it was a privilege to have these men and women once again here in the homeland, individuals who have demonstrated completely the internationalist spirit of the Cuban people.

Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, deputy foreign minister and head of the Cuban State Mission in Pakistan, confirmed that our doctors and other relief workers had left their eternal mark on Pakistani soil. "Millions of people in that country are grateful to Cuba not just because our people saved lives and brought relief, but also because they shared difficult moments in which solidarity is proven through sacrifice."

In order to illustrate this page in the history of Cuban internationalism, he gave the example of a 72-year-old surgeon who traveled to Pakistan with the young graduates who make up the Reeve contingent. "The same spirit of combat has made them better human beings, and has transformed them into veterans," he confirmed.

A Cuban flag - embroidered by female members of the brigade working at Hospital 16 in Abbas Pur in Kashmir - and one from Pakistan, bearing the signatures of the cooperative workers, accompanied the internationalists during their return journey.

The poem "Los Héroes" (The Heroes) by Jesús Orta Ruiz, read by schoolgirl Karla Teuteló and Eduardo Sosa’s trova version of one of Martí’s poems, provided an allegorical backdrop to this moment in which we recall that our homeland is, and will continue to be, synonymous with humanity.

Accompanying Fidel at the official welcome were Foreign Minister Felipe Pérez Roque; Rogelio Acevedo, head of the Civil Aeronautic association; Deputy Health Minister Gonzalo Estévez and Yiliam Jiménez, deputy foreign minister.

Pakistan President bids farewell to Cuban docs

Islamabad, May 25 (Prensa Latina) Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf affirmed on Thursday that the example of the Cuban medical brigade that assisted the victims of the October 2005 earthquake will be always present in the heart of his people.

"Your example will live on in the Pakistani people?s heart, and I bid a sad farewell," Musharraf told Bruno Rodriguez, first deputy foreign minister and head of the Cuban medical mission there.

In a meeting with leaders of the Cuba brigade, the president thanked the Island and President Fidel Castro for the aid given shortly after the quake hit Pakistan.

The Cuban help included the donation of 32 tent hospitals with materials, as well as 1,000 medical scholarships for low-income youth in the quake-hit areas.

Rodriguez told Musharraf the Henry Reeve Internationalist Contingent cared for about 1.74 million people, carried out 14,506 surgical operations, and provided 166,262 patients with physiotherapy and rehabilitation services.

The Cuban official also thanked Musharraf for having given Cuba the opportunity to practice its solidarity vocation and get to know the Pakistani people, which he called grateful and modest.

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