November 3, 1998
Nicaragua rejects offer of Cuban doctors

                  MANAGUA, Nicaragua, (AP) -- Nicaragua's government has rejected
                  Cuba's offer of doctors but accepted medicine from the Communist island to
                  help those injured by Hurricane Mitch.

                  The Foreign Ministry late Monday confirmed the decision announced by
                  Health Minister Martha McCoy.

                  The government of President Arnoldo Aleman has long been a political ally
                  of Cuban exile groups hostile to Cuban President Fidel Castro. Castro was
                  close to Aleman's political rivals in Nicaragua, the leftist Sandinista party.

                  Cuba, with one of the world's highest percentages of doctors per person,
                  often sends physicians abroad on aid missions. It had a sizable medical team
                  in Nicaragua during the 1980s when the Sandinistas were in power.

                  With the government estimating that 2,000 people may have died due to the
                  storm, former Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, head of the Sandinista
                  party, called the rejection of Cuban aid "unheard of."

                  McCoy said Nicaragua has enough doctors but needs medicines.

                  Copyright 1998   The Associated Press.