Fidel Castro, former Cuban president, stated today that he is offering the United States his country’s help in the fight against Ebola. Despite tensions between the two countries, which have persisted for more than half a century, Cuba’s former leader expressed his willingness to cooperate with American personnel in the global fight against Ebola.
In an article on the Cuban paper Granma, as reported by the local Havana Times, Castro says his offer to help the U.S. in the midst of one of the biggest biological outbreaks of the decade is in pursuit of world peace.
“We gladly cooperate with American personnel in this task (the fight against Ebola), and not in pursuit of peace between the two states that have been adversaries for many years but, in any case, for world peace.”
In the article, Fidel Castro praised Cuba’s current government for being able to respond to U.N.’s call to participate in the fight against Ebola, especially noting the “fast response” the Caribbean country had in giving aid to virus-stricken areas in West Africa. Earlier this month, Cuba sent 165 health professionals to Sierra Leone in an effort to provide medical help to Ebola patients in the country. Castro’s Cuba promises to send 300 more workers to respond to the growing need for medical aid in Liberia and Guinea, the two other countries stricken with the Ebola outbreak.
On Monday, the Cuban capital of Havana will host an Ebola prevention summit with the left-wing country members of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America.
Fidel Castro resigned in 2006 after falling ill, passing on Cuba’s leadership roles to his younger brother, Raul. Castro, 88, maintains an opinion column in the island’s government-controlled newspaper, where he publishes his take on current global issues.
Tensions between Cuba and the United States have subsided over the last decade, although the embargo on the island country has been maintained. Cuba remains to be the only country under the U.S.’ embargo policy, although agricultural products, branded as “humanitarian” items, are allowed as per former president Bill Clinton’s authorization in 2000.
Fidel Castro was installed as Cuba’s prime minister in 1956, after taking a lead role in the Cuban Revolution with Raul Castro and Che Guevarra, ousting former president Fulgencio Batista. Castro’s alliance with the Soviet Union alarmed the United States, prompting Eisenhower and Kennedy to attempt to overthrow him. However, these attempts were unsuccessful, and Castro remained as the leader of the Cuban government until 2006.
[Image from Wikimedia]