Cuba’s Foreign Affairs Ministry on Wednesday condemned “pressure and blackmail” from the U.S. government against the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).
“The Ministry denounces a spurious and mendacious evaluation that is being prepared by and for the aggressive purposes of the United States in its eagerness to discredit Cuba’s international cooperation,” the ministry said in a statement.
The foreign ministry claimed that the PAHO has been forced to accept an external review of the agency’s role in the “More Doctors” program in Brazil under the threat of the United States’ withdrawing substantial financial support for it.
Cuba participated in the “More Doctors” program from August 2013 to November 2018, when Havana announced the withdrawal of its more than 8,000 doctors from the program due to the “unacceptable” conditions imposed by Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.
Bolsonaro stated that Cuban doctors were “slaves” of a “dictatorship” and that they needed to pass examinations to demonstrate their knowledge and professional preparation.
“The alleged concerns of the United States about Cuba’s cooperation, in this case in the ‘More Doctors’ program, are not legitimate,” the statement from the ministry emphasized.
Since 1964, more than 400,000 Cuban health workers have provided services in 164 nations, according to the Cuban Ministry of Public Health.