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Morales says Cuban doctors top U.S. medical aid [View All]

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Say_What Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 04:13 PM
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Morales says Cuban doctors top U.S. medical aid
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LA PAZ, Bolivia --President Evo Morales on Friday heeded the wishes of six visiting U.S. senators by acknowledging the positive effects of American aid in his country -- but added that Cuban doctors had had a greater impact on Bolivia than their U.S. counterparts.

A bipartisan delegation led by incoming Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid met for over an hour with Morales on Thursday, and during what Reid described as a "long, intense conversation" the lawmakers asked the populist leader to better recognize U.S. aid for South America's poorest country.

But in a Friday interview with Bolivian radio network Fides, Morales said the assistance of Cuban leader Fidel Castro -- who has sent Bolivia some 1,700 doctors and paramedics this year alone, setting up free hospitals and eye clinics throughout Bolivia -- outshines the United States' own medical aid.

"Yesterday we were conversing with Democratic and Republican senators who visited the presidential palace from the United States," Morales said. "They told me that we should value their doctors. We do value the American doctors that are here in Bolivia. And they help us. But their impact is not as great as the opthamology centers" set up by Cuba.

The United States sent an estimated $145 million in total aid to Bolivia in 2006, with $17 million set aside for medical programs. Free clinics hosted by U.S. military doctors treated some 12,000 Bolivians this year, according to figures provided by the U.S. embassy in La Paz. /

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