Fidel Castro Reiterates Cuban Friendship to the United States
The following is an abridged version of a translated article from Prensa Latina.
President Fidel Castro offered medical aid to help the victims of hurricane Katrina, which hit Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana, on Friday, September 2, expressing the Cuban peopleís goodwill and friendship. The Caribbean Islandís leader offered, during the radio and television round table, to send 1,100 doctors to help the victims of the meteorological disaster, and insisted on sending the personnel needed, which is a common practice in Cuba, which has faced similar disasters.
The Cuban authorities passed on their condolences to the U.S. government on August 30, when Katrinaís wind gusts were still pounding the southern states, and communicated their decision of sending medical aid to the victims.
In reference to exclusion of Cuba from the list given by the U.S. State Department spokesman of the countries and organizations that offered aid to the United States, Castro said he is not trying to criticize anybody, but to propose something constructive and practical in a timely manner. He said the Cubans have expressed their goodwill towards the people of the U.S. with that proposal, something they have done for 46 years. He noted that Cuba is one of the few countries where a U.S. flag has never been burned, nor have Cubans offended the people of the United States.
Castro also said that Cuba is grateful to the people who defended the return of the child, Elian Gonzales, who was kidnapped in the U.S., and that Cuba is asking for justice to the five Cuban anti-terrorists jailed in U.S. prisons. The Cuban president said he was confident that U.S. and Cuban specialists would build friendship and mutual-aid links some day, to assist each other and other people, because the world needs doctors and all of humanity is a family.
The Islandís offer includes the sending, in two days, of 1,100 doctors, each equipped with a 24-kilogram knapsack with medicines and essential diagnostic instruments. Such aid would be the equivalent of highly qualified specialists with 26.4 tons of medicines and other resources.
—Prensa Latina (Havana), September 3, 2005