In a message to Evo Morales
from the National Assembly and the Council of State, the people of Cuba recognized that
both he and his people, one of the poorest and most exploited in the hemisphere,
are facing new and enormous challenges which call for the greatest possible
solidarity from both Latin American and the world.
During the talks, the Cuban
Government expressed its willingness to promote a program enabling the
provision of ophthalmic treatment to the five million poor patients in Latin America and the Caribbean estimated to
need eye surgery every year.
Cuba also indicated
its readiness to start immediate cooperation with the efforts of the new
president aimed at eradicating illiteracy among all his compatriots.
For his part, Evo Morales, Bolivia's President
Elect by an overwhelming majority, expressed his determination to address the
poverty and exploitation of that combative people.
Both nations are resolved to
fight for the unity and integration of the brotherly peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean and for peace
and friendship among all peoples of the world. As steps preparatory to the
taking of office by President Elect Evo Morales, whose term will commence as
soon as the Bolivian leader assumes the presidency of his nation, and the legal and constitutional powers that come
with it, the two countries have agreed on immediate cooperative measures for
further implementation after January 22, 2006, as follows:
1: To establish a
non-profit Cuban-Bolivian entity with the mission of providing high-quality
ophthalmic surgery free of charge to all Bolivian citizens unable to afford the
extremely high fees associated with such services, thereby avoiding a situation
in which every year tens of thousands of poor Bolivians could lose their
eyesight or suffer serious and often incapacitating impairment of their vision.
2: Cuba will
provide leading-edge technology equipment together with the ophthalmologists
needed for the initial stage; these specialists, supported by young Bolivian
doctors trained at the Latin American School of Medical Sciences (ELAM) as
residents, or other residents and doctors from Bolivia other countries, will
provide care of the highest quality to the Bolivian patients.
3: Cuba will pay the
salaries of these specialists.
4: Bolivia will provide the
facilities required for these services, which may be premises already in use
for medical purposes or adapted for such.
5: The National
Ophthalmology Institute, recently equipped by Cuba for eye surgery and
staffed partly by Cuba with
ELAM-graduate Bolivian specialists and residents, who have already performed
surgery on 1,536 Bolivians, will have two additional surgical facilities, in Cochabamba and Santa Cruz respectively.
The La Paz Ophthalmology Center will have a capacity of 100 operations daily,
while the Cochabamba and Santa Cruz clinics will
each handle half that number. These facilities combined will be able to perform
eye surgery on at least 50,000 people annually. This overall capacity may be increased
should Bolivia decide to offer
ophthalmologic services to poor patients in neighboring countries near the
6: Cuba offers Bolivia 5,000 full
scholarships for training doctors and specialists in comprehensive general
medicine and other medical disciplines: 2,000 during the first quarter of 2006,
who are already undergoing basic preparation in Cuba; 2000 in the second half of the year, and 1,000 in the first quarter of 2007. In later years, the quotas
thus established will be filled by new candidates. The numbers mentioned do not
include the 497 Bolivian youths already studying medicine at medical science
faculties in Cuba.
7: Cuba will provide Bolivia with the
know-how, teaching materials and technical facilities needed for a literacy
program covering the entire relevant population. The two nations will work
together to complete the program within 30 months, beginning July 2006.
8: Cuba will provide Bolivia with details of the
experience with its energy-saving program.
9: Cuba will provide its
full support for the development of sports in Bolivia, in those
disciplines of interest to its people.
10: The parties will seek ways to maximize
academic, scientific and cultural exchanges between the Bolivian and Cuban
11: Other forms of beneficial, useful and
constructive cooperation between the two countries will be considered.
These programs will procure
and accept international cooperation, although the two countries undertake to
implement them with their own resources.
This agreement is the
initial stage of a wide-ranging process of integration based on the principles
of solidarity and reciprocity.
Fidel Castro Ruz
President of the Council of State President Elect of Bolivia
and of the Council of Ministers