Castro Offers Medical Help

New Orleans Times-Picayune
Date Published: 
September 2, 2005

"Our country is ready to send, in the small hours of morning, 100 clinicians and specialists in comprehensive general medicine, who at dawn tomorrow, (Saturday) could be in Houston International Airport, Texas, the closest to the region struck by the tragedy, in order to be transferred by air, sea or river to the isolated shelters, facilities and neighborhoods in the city of New Orleans, where the population and families are that require emergency medical care or first aid," Cuban President Fidel Castro said in a televised announcement Friday.

"These Cuban personnel would be carrying backpacks with 24 kilograms of medications, known to be essential in such situations to save lives, as well as basic diagnosis kits. They would be prepared to work alone or in groups of two or more, depending on the circumstances, for as long as necessary.

"Likewise, Cuba is ready to send via Houston, or any other airport of your choosing, 500 additional specialists in comprehensive general medicine, with the same equipment, who could be at their destination point at noon or in the afternoon of tomorrow, Saturday, Sept. 3.
"A third group of 500 specialists in comprehensive general medicine could be arriving in the morning of Sunday, Sept. 4. Thus, the 1100 said medical doctors, with the resources described tantamount to 26.4 tons of medications and diagnosis kits, would be caring for the neediest persons in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina.

"These medical doctors have the necessary international experience and elementary knowledge of the English language that would allow them to communicate with the patients. "We stand ready waiting for the US authorities' response."

The Bush administration, which has imposed travel and trade sanctions against the communist government, isn't likely to accept the offer.