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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