Rejected once, Cuban doctors to aid Nicaragua
MANAGUA -- (AP) -- After originally refusing help from Cuba, Nicaragua
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,
Aleman had opposed and which had imprisoned him.
The rejection of the Cuban doctors was sharply criticized by Nicaraguans,
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.