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Montevideo, December 2nd 2021 - 00:29 UTC

 

 

Havana claims Bolivia suspended diplomatic relations with Cuba pressured by Trump

Monday, January 27th 2020 - 07:40 UTC
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“The acting authorities unfurled a ferocious campaign of lies against Cuba ... in particular against the Cuban medical cooperation”, Cuban foreign ministry “The acting authorities unfurled a ferocious campaign of lies against Cuba ... in particular against the Cuban medical cooperation”, Cuban foreign ministry

A day after Bolivia suspended diplomatic relations with Cuba, Havana accused its interim government of having sought to sabotage bilateral ties ever since it took power last year, partly under pressure from the Trump administration.

Communist-run Cuba was a key ally of Bolivia's former leftist President Evo Morales - who resigned amid a political crisis and protests in November - and has supported his assertion that he was toppled in a foreign-backed “coup”.

Bolivia's conservative interim President Jeanine Anez, meanwhile, has tried to align the country more closely with U.S. President Donald Trump's administration, which is cranking up sanctions on Cuba.

“The acting authorities unfurled a ferocious campaign of lies against Cuba ... in particular against the Cuban medical cooperation, inciting violence against our staff,” the Cuban foreign ministry said in a statement on Saturday.

“It is not casual that the facts described here coincide with a brutal, politically-motivated U.S. campaign against the international medical cooperation Cuba provides to dozens of countries.”

Cuba's foreign ministry also said U.S. officials had, since the departure of Morales, “applied pressure on Bolivia to impose a deterioration in relations with Cuba”.

Cuba's health service is the country's most important hard currency earner, sending more than 50,000 health workers to more than 60 countries.

That program, though, has come under increased fire over the past two years, with critics accusing Cuba of treating doctors as “slave labor” or using them to fuel unrest abroad. Cuba denies the accusations.

Thousands of Cuban doctors have returned home after agreements with Brazil and Ecuador were ended over the past year and a half.

Bolivia's foreign ministry said in November: “There have been a number of accusations that Cuban citizens have been involved in these aggressive acts that have tormented our country in recent days.”

Cuba responded by terminating its medical mission, saying Bolivian officials were fostering violence against the around 700 doctors by claiming they were instigating rebellion.

The spat was revived on Wednesday, when Anez said the Cuban government kept 80per cent of the payments that Bolivia made for the work of Cuban doctors in the country.

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