OFFICIAL VOICE OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY OF CUBA CENTRAL COMMITTEE

The search for strategies to combat Ebola was the topic for discussion for presidents and health ministers from 12 countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, who met today at the Extraordinary Summit of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) taking place at the Havana International Convention Center. Following the inaugural speech by President Raúl Castro, the President of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, took the opportunity to recognize the leading role of Cuba in terms of solidarity to tackle health issues around the world. He mentioned some of the agreements signed between Cuba and his country, as well as the presence of a Cuban medical brigade of more than 150 experts in Sierra Leone, with a further 300 preparing to travel to Guinea and Liberia over the coming days, in order to tackle the epidemic. Maduro also proposed that an immediate meeting of CELAC (the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States) be called with the participation of health authorities from across the continent in order to seek consensus regarding the fight against the disease, which according to experts could affect 100,400,000 people by next January. The President of Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega, stated that, "It is health that brings us here today, faced with the Ebola epidemic that affects our brothers and sisters particularly in Africa, but that has spread to developed countries as well." "We have come (...) to make joint proposals, conduct a thorough assessment and seek to defend life, to work out how we can save humanity," the President of Bolivia, Evo Morales, added. The meeting was also attended by representatives of international organizations such as the United Nations, the World Health Organization and the Pan American Health Organization, who will contribute to efforts to mitigate the effects of the epidemic. Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Antigua and Barbuda, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Dominica and St. Lucia are members of the ALBA-TCP, while Haiti is a permanent guest at these meetings. Grenada and St. Kitts and Nevis have submitted requests to join the group, with their membership set to become effective at the ordinary ALBA summit to be held in December.