The Miami Herald
November 21, 1998

             Rejected once, Cuban doctors to aid Nicaragua

             MANAGUA -- (AP) -- After originally refusing help from Cuba, Nicaragua is
             accepting an offer of medical teams to fight epidemics caused by Hurricane Mitch,
             the Cuban ambassador said.

             Cuba will send six teams, each consisting of a doctor, a nurse and an
             epidemiologist, Ambassador Damian Arteaga said Thursday on Radio Ya.

             Cuba had offered medical assistance in early November, soon after the hurricane
             struck Central America, killing an estimated 10,000 people in the region.

             But President Arnoldo Aleman's government accepted only food and medicine,
             saying it couldn't transport doctors to areas the storm hit. It did accept doctors
             from other countries.

             Cuba was a strong ally of Nicaragua's Sandinista government of the 1980s, which
             Aleman had opposed and which had imprisoned him.

             The rejection of the Cuban doctors was sharply criticized by Nicaraguans, some of
             whom noted that even the staunchly anti-communist Somoza regime permitted
             Cuban doctors to help after a 1972 earthquake struck Managua, killing 10,000

             Arteaga said the Health Ministry asked Cuba for help Wednesday, after some
             transportation difficulties were resolved. The teams are expected to arrive today.

             Nicaragua is having outbreaks of diarrhea, dengue, cholera and other diseases,
             many stemming from river contamination.