Yemen & Cuba: 36 years of strong ties [Archives:2008/1152/Local News]

May 5 2008

Mohammed Bin Sallam
SANA'A, May 4 ) Thirty-six years have passed since Yemen and Cuba first established bilateral political, economic, technical and scientific relations. Such relations have become stronger over time, particularly medical and education cooperation that helped officials in both states during a regular exchange of visits.

A Cuban team headed by the chairman of the Arab-Cuban Friendship Association, Dr. Rodrigo Alvarez Cambras, who is also the country's health sector officer, visited Yemen last week.

During the multi-day visit, the Cuban team toured several hospitals and health facilities in Yemen and met the military and civil officials working in medical and therapeutic institutions. The team also met officials from the Youth & Sports Ministry, sports coaches, and Cuban doctors and academics working in Sana'a.

“I met many executive officials in Yemeni government and Parliament. We discussed the various aspects of developing distinctive ties between both partner countries, plus the arrangements underway for holding the joint governmental committee that is projected to meet next November,” said Cambras in reference to the reasons for his visit.

“We also paved the way for signing several agreements on health, education and sports as well as other areas, which may contribute to making a distinctive move in the history of bilateral relations between Yemeni and Cuban peoples,” he continued.

When asked about any potential projects to be initiated in Yemen in the near future, the Cuban official replied that the Yemeni government has a long-term plan to establish an orthopedic hospital in Sana'a, while Cuba plans to build a giant regional hospital similar to Sink Base Hospital in the capital of Havana.

“President Ali Abdullah Saleh directed the minister of Public Health and Population, Dr. Abdulkarim Rasea, to establish the hospital as soon as possible,” Cambras continued. “Rasea is due to visit Havana in June this year to complete the final layout for constructing the hospital.”

There are no more than 76 Yemeni orthopedic doctors, but Cambras called them “outstanding and competent,” and noted that there is a growing demand for medical specialists.

Concluding his statement at a press conference held at the house of the Cuban Ambassador to Yemen in Sana'a, the Cuban team head expressed his happiness about visiting Yemen once again, particularly as he worked as a surgeon in the Sana'a-based Military Hospital a decade ago. Cambras said he has unforgettable memories dating back to the days of his work in Sana'a and always has a strong desire to return to Sana'a again.