Government sources have confirmed with Granma that the first group of the more than 700 Cuban medical professionals who provided medical attention in the Plurinational State of Bolivia, are returning to their homeland from the city of Santa Cruz, in a Cubana airliner.
On November 13, four members of the Medical Brigade in El Alto were arrested by Bolivian police as they were returning to their place of residence with money taken from a bank to pay for basic services and rents for the 107 members of the Medical Brigade in that region.
The arrest took place under the slanderous assumption that the money was used to finance protests. Representatives of the police and the Public Ministry visited the headquarters of the Medical Brigade in El Alto and La Paz and corroborated, based on documents, payrolls and bank data that the amount of money coincided with the amount regularly extracted each month.
The head of the Cuban Medical Brigade in Bolivia, Yoandra Muro Valle, was also arrested in her home on the afternoon of November 15.
In a press conference, Cuba called on the Bolivian authorities to protect the lives of the Cuban professionals in that nation and denounced the new arrests that also included Jacinto Alfonso Pérez, a logistician with the Cuban brigade. Cuban President Miguel Diaz – Canel tweeted on Friday, “Cease the irresponsible anti-Cuban expressions of hate, lies, defamations and instigations to violence against Cuban professionals.”
In the evening, Cuba’s Minister of Public Health, José Angel Portal Miranda, reported through his Twitter account that, after being subjected to an unjustified detention and interrogation by the police, Dr. Muro Valle had returned to the coordination offices with the comrades who had been held with her.
The Ministry of Public Health of Cuba also confirmed through a message published in Twitter that Cuba will continue as a sister country around the world, saving lives through its health brgades.
The Cuban Medical Brigade has spent 13 years in diverse areas of Bolivia where it saved 110 thousand lives and gave back or improved the vision to around 700 thousand people between locals and foreigners.
The cooperation was the result of an agreement signed in 2005 by former President Evo Morales and the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro, which included, in addition to sending contingents, the granting of some five thousand scholarships to young Bolivians to study medicine in Cuba.
The impulse of the Operation Milagro ophthalmology program is another result of this collaboration that took place in the area of health.