Havana : The Bolivian de facto authorities publicly informed that the facility known as “Clínica del Colaborador” (Cooperation Workers’ Clinic), which is owned by the Republic of Cuba and had been raided by law enforcement authorities on November 15, 2019, would be fitted out to assist Bolivian COVID-19 patients.
This unilateral decision, which is portrayed as a humanitarian gesture, is a violation of the rights of the Republic of Cuba as the legal owner of the aforementioned facility and has been preceded by a complete disregard for the rules of International Law and the relentless campaigns of lies and distortions against Cuba, particularly targeting the medical cooperation that our country offered to Bolivia, which was denounced by this Ministry in a declaration issued on January 25, 2020.
It must be recalled that in November of 2019, the Bolivian authorities, acting under the guided and with the support of the US embassy in La Paz, arrested several Cuban health cooperation workers under false allegations and searched and raided their houses while publicly inciting violence against our health personnel. That campaign has not stopped and has been used instead for domestic electoral purposes.
The facility that houses the Cooperation Workers’ Clinic was purchased and extended by the Cuban State, strictly abiding by the Bolivian legislation. It is located at Number 163, 22nd Street, at the corner of Enrique Herson, in the area of Achumani in La Paz. According to Resolution 0410 of April 4, 2007 of the Ministry of Health of Bolivia, by the powers vested by Law No.3351 of February 21, 2006, that Ministry authorized the operation of that medical center to assist the Cuban professionals who were offering their cooperation in the areas of health and education.
The facility includes a two-storied house plus a three-storied structure that was built afterwards as an extension of the former one. Inside that small facility there are 13 hospital beds: 6 for hospitalized patients; 4 for patients under observation and 3 for patients requiring intensive care. It was part of the 158 health facilities in which, by virtue of the Scientific and Technical Cooperation Agreement in the Area of Health signed by Cuba and Bolivia in 1985 and its subsequent updates, 18 015 Cuban health professionals offered to the brother people of Bolivia a total of 73 557 935 medical consultations; 1 533 016 surgeries –of them 727 000 eye surgeries-, and assisted 60 792 child deliveries. Besides, as a result of that cooperation, 5 184 Bolivian youths have graduated from Medicine in our country.
In Bolivia, the Cuban health cooperation workers offered their services in 34 Community Comprehensive Hospitals, 119 Community Comprehensive Centers and 5 Ophthalmological Centers, scattered around the 9 departments, 28 provinces and 42 municipalities of that country.
After the aforementioned raid, the acting Bolivian authorities have arbitrarily prevented the Cuban embassy personnel from accessing the Clinic.
The Cuban government has called for the immediate restoration of its rights as the legitimate owner of the aforementioned facility via diplomatic notes No. 1079/20, of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cuba of April 13, 2020; and No. 26/20 of the Cuban embassy in La Paz of June 18 of 2020 respectively without having received any response whatsoever.
We have closely followed the tragic situation facing the brother people of Bolivia ,which are suffering because of the more than 60 000 infected persons and more than 2 000 fatalities as a result of the SARS-CoV-2 – COVID-19, according to official data. The Bolivian health system has not been able to efficiently cope with this pandemic and is now on the verge of collapse. Unfortunately, medical doctors and other health staff have been infected and died, among them several Bolivian youths who had graduated from the Latin American Medicine School in Cuba and proudly fulfilled their duty.
In that context, numerous Bolivian organizations and private citizens have addressed Cuba, either privately or publicly, requesting the support of Cuban medical personnel as well as medicines that have proven to be effective in patients infected with the virus. Many have remembered the contribution that would have been made by the Cuban Medical Brigade that was offering its services in Bolivia until the coup d’état.
The generous Cuban people do not renounce its altruistic vocation. Aware of the fact that the combat against the COVID-19 pandemic requires joint and urgent cooperation and solidarity efforts, and without renouncing its right as a legal owner of the Cooperation Workers’ Clinic, the Cuban government makes it available to the brother people of Bolivia so that it can be used to assist COVID-19 patients for as long as this crisis generated by this pandemic lasts in Bolivia.