Cuba blasts US over end of medical missions in some nations

December 18, 2019 GMT

HAVANA (AP) — Cuba’s government accused the Trump administration on Wednesday of orchestrating the end of the island’s medical missions to several Latin American countries in order to cut one of the country’s main revenue sources.

Thousands of Cuban medical personnel have been withdrawn from Brazil, Ecuador and Bolivia in 2019, ending the exchange of health services for hundreds of millions of dollars a year in income for the government.

At a press conference in Havana, Johana Tablada, deputy director of North American affairs for Cuba’s Foreign Ministry, said Trump administration officials have pressured Latin American governments to end the medical support programs, hurting health care in those countries.

The administration says Cuba uses the medical missions to send intelligence agents around the world, and says the doctors’ small share of the programs’ income makes it a form of forced labor. Cuba denies both charges.

“The government of President Trump has crossed the red line of decency by taking the foreign relations of the United States to levels of hypocrisy and double standards that none of his predecessors have done,″ Tablada said.

He accused the U.S. of trying to destabilize Cuba in order to distract attention from the impeachment process against Trump.