Subject: Timor-Leste’s top authorities bid farewell to Cuban medical brigade

Havana. March 11, 2008

Timor-Leste’s top authorities bid farewell to Cuban medical brigade

Dili .­ In a ceremony presided over by the interim president of the Republic of Timor-Leste, Fernando Lasama de Araujo, and Deputy Prime Minister Jose L. Guterres, along with ministers of foreign trade, Zacarias da Silva, and health, Nelson Martins, and Cuban Ambassador Ramón Hernández Vázquez, the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste bade farewell to the 177 Cuban doctors and medical personnel who have been carrying out their honorable mission in this South Asian country for more than two years.

The medical brigade is due to arrive in Cuba on March 13, after boarding the same airplane that is taking another Cuban health care contingent to Timor-Leste. Together with those that are to remain in the country, the new brigade is comprised of 237 Cuban internationalists, plus 35 teachers who are traveling there this month in order to continue running the national literacy campaign, which thus far has taught 3,500 Timorese how to read and write.

In his closing remarks at the moving ceremony, where all of the Cuban internationalists received a certificate from the country’s authorities, the Timorese head of state thanked them personally and in the name of the Timorese people "for the effort, dedication and great help that Cuba has given us in friendship through you. I also welcome the new cooperators who will be arriving, and would like to use this opportunity to wish all of the Cuban people happiness and further progress."

For his part, Health Minister Nelson Martins said: "There are many communities that have asked us for the Cuban doctors to stay on longer, because their work has been very good. All of the Cuban medical personnel have won the confidence of the Timorese health professionals. I congratulate you all; the people of Timor-Leste love you."

Translated by Granma International

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