First Responders: 400 Cuban Doctors and 573 Haitian Doctors trained in Cuba in Haiti before the Disaster

Cuban and Haitian Doctor Trained in Cuba Aid Victims

Cuba is Missing… From US Reports on the International Response to Haiti’s Earthquake  

  by Dave Lindorff  

The Christian Science Monitor, in a second article, quoted Laurence Korb, former assistant secretary of defense and now based at the Center for American Progress, as saying that the US, which is leading the relief efforts in Haiti, should “consider tapping the expertise of neighboring Cuba,” which he noted, “has some of the best doctors in the world–we should see about flying them in.”  


As for the rest of the US media, they have simply ignored Cuba’s role and actions.  

In fact, left unmentioned is the reality that Cuba already had over 400 doctors posted to Haiti to help with the day-to-day health needs of this poorest nation in the Americas, and that those doctors were the first to respond to the disaster, setting up a hospital right next to the main hospital in Port-au-Prince which collapsed in the earthquake.  

Far from “doing nothing” about the disaster as the right-wing propagandists at Fox-TV were claiming, Cuba has been one of the most effective and critical responders to the crisis, because it had set up a medical infrastructure before the quake, which was able to mobilize quickly and start treating the victims.  

The American emergency response, predictably, has focussed primarily, at least in terms of personnel and money, on sending the hugely costly and inefficient US military–a fleet of aircraft and an aircraft carrier–a factor that should be considered when examining that $100 million figure the Obama administration claims is being allocated to emergency aid to Haiti. Considering that the cost of operating an aircraft carrier, including crew, is roughly $2 million a day, just sending a carrier to Port-au-Prince for two weeks accounts for a quarter of the announced American aid effort, and while many of the military personnel sent there will certainly be doing actual aid work, delivering supplies and guarding supplies, many, given America’s long history of brutal military/colonial control of Haiti, will inevitably be spending their time ensuring continued survival and control of the parasitic pro-US political elite in Haiti.  

Otherwise, the US has basically ignored the ongoing day-to-day human crisis in Haiti, while Cuba has been doing the yeoman work of providing basic health care.  

But that’s not a story that the American corporate media want to tell.  



Dave Lindorff is a Philadelphia-based journalist and columnist. He is author of Marketplace Medicine: The Rise of the For-Profit Hospital Chains [1](BantamBooks, 1992), and his latest book “The Case for Impeachment [2]” (St. Martin’s Press, 2006). His work is available at [3]  

544 Haitians Trained as Doctors in Cuba

August 13, 2009

Fifty-five new Haitian doctors trained at the Caribbean Faculty in Santiago de Cuba will receive their titles in a celebration to be held in Port-au-Prince, Haiti on August 13. This brings the total to 544 Haitians physicians trained in Cuba since Fidel Castro implemented the scholarship program.

This program represents one of the most important aspects of Cuban cooperation with Haiti in the health sector, providing doctors to the poorest nation in the hemisphere.  

The project began in December 1998 when Cuban healthcare professionals arrived to Haiti to help out in the aftermath of Hurricane George. Cooperation expanded shortly afterwards with Cuban doctors serving in remote communities to many Haitians who were attended for the first time by a doctor.  

Currently there are 358 Cuban health professionals in the 10 departments of Haiti, under the leadership of Dr. Carlos Alberto García Domínguez who heads the mission in Haiti.  

The first Haitian students, 132, began to arrive to study in Cuba on May 17, 1999.  

Dr. Carlos Alberto García Domínguez told JREB that 2,149 Cuban health professionals have served in Haiti since 1998.  

The work is always a challenge, especially in under-developed nations such as Haiti. During these 15 years of work in Haiti, the Cuban doctors have attended to close to 6 million patients free of charge, almost all of them in the same communities where they live. All in all, 14,446,829 doctors’ visits have been performed, including more than 110,390 babies who were delivered by Cuban doctors and 228,238 people who have received operations.  

Another milestone was the startup of the Operation Miracle program that provides free corrective eye surgery to those in need. Operation Miracle began in Haiti in 2005 with an extensive medical survey of the population and then in September of the same year, the first patients arrived to Cuba to receive operations.  

Today, more than 155,773 Haitians have received free eye surgeries for cataracts and other eye diseases.  

Another cornerstone of Cuban medical cooperation in Haiti has been ten comprehensive diagnostic centers that are being built across the country with the support of Venezuela. Three are already functioning and another five will be finished later this year; all of which provide 100 percent free medical services to Haitians.  




There are only two US media outlets that have reported on Cuba’s response to the deadly 7.0 earthquake that hit Haiti. One was Fox News, which claimed, wrongly, that the Cubans were absent from the list of neighboring Caribbean countries providing aid. The other was the Christian Science Monitor (a respected news organization that recently shut down its print edition), which reported correctly that Cuba had dispatched 30 doctors to the stricken nation.   

2 thoughts on “First Responders: 400 Cuban Doctors and 573 Haitian Doctors trained in Cuba in Haiti before the Disaster”

  1. Please refer to the LINK TV web site of Democracy Now in which Bill Quigley reported the following:
    “But while the United States is assessing the situation, there have all been reports that a China airplane, from halfway around the world in China, landed yesterday with supplies and equipment to help the people of Haiti. The Cuban foreign minister announced that Cuba has 400 people already in Haiti that have been working on a—medical people working on a mission. They’ve already set up two field hospitals and, just yesterday alone, treated 800 people. And Venezuela, President Chavez, sent a plane that landed last night with firefighters and medical personnel and other equipment. So these other countries are moving faster than we are here in the United States, even though we have these enormous resources.” Jan 14, Democracy Now

    Amy Goodman, commentator of this show, does not receive the recognition she should for her hard hitting reporting. She is not a talking head! She does not shy away from topics that other “famous” TV personalities avoid.

    If you are not familiar with her please go to her site at and follow her leads and lengthy interviews.

    Thank you for including your article that, hopefully, will inform your public to the reality of political events. Eneida Pugh

  2. Finally, some reports are getting through the US Media bias. It is hard to ignore the brave work of the Cuban medical workers when so many others are waiting for “security.”

    Just now, I saw the first real reporting on the presence and commendable work of the Cuban doctors in Port-au-Prince, Haiti on CNN TV.

    At 1:45 am, EST, Sunday, 1/17/10 CNN allowed a reporter to praise at length the Cuban doctors who were providing orderly, efficient, and quality medical treatment at the La Paz hospital. He contrasted it with the chaos and woefully inadequate circumstances elsewhere.

    Also, I see where Xinhua news service is generating reports such as:

    Sunday, January 17, 2010, 03.41 PM

    “Cuban aid workers have taken charge of the De la Paz Hospital, since its doctors have not appeared after the quake. They complained of a lack of anaesthetica, serum, plaster, and orthopedic materials to conduct amputations or fix the broken bones. The injured were dying at the hospitals, they said.
    Meanwhile, many Haitians waited in a line to be treated by the Chinese doctors on the plaza in front of the building used to be the prime minister’s office. ‘Doctors and medicine are of great need here (..) I hope more rescue teams join us,” said Hou Shike, a doctor with the Chinese rescue team.'”

    “Meanwhile, De la Paz Hospital is in operation thanks to the work of a Cuban brigade, while the Haitian directives and workers of that center are absent.”

    Al Jazeera
    Port-Au-Prince, Jan. 15, 2010 (Xinhua)
    “Sara Salas, a Cuban doctor now working in that hospital said that they need anesthesia, serum, plaster, and orthopedic materials to cut or stabilize the fractures of the patients.”

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