Juan Juan Almeida, 14 February 2017 — In a memorable address on December 18, 2008 in Salvador de Bahía, Brazil, Raúl Castro referred to what we now know as Operation Carlota, saying, “We told the Angolan people we will only take with us the remains of our dead.” But he lied.
The Cuban military mission there did some farming and planted a seed that is only now bearing fruit. Initially, the mission provided support, earning the regime international prestige and increasing its political capital. Witness for example, the vote against the US embargo in the United Nations’ General Assembly. Now, General Castro, who is also president of Cuba, is counting on a good harvest: Angolan oil.
Below are the names of thirty people who were flew on KLM or TAAG Angolan Airlines on January 26 of this year from Havana to Luanda with the express purpose of trading medical services for Angolan crude oil.
Mariluz Simales Cruz, nursing
Larisa Peña Roja, biology
Ángel Alexis Calas Ortiz, nursing
Isabel Chala Castaneda, MD, hygiene and epidemiology
Margarita Saltaren Cobas, nursing
Alfredo Saltaren Cobas, biological sciences
Erenis Serrat Morales, clinical laboratory
Jorge Luis Vargas Mendoza, hygiene and epidemiology
José Alexander Campos Castillo, pharmacy
Mario Oscar León Sánchez, comprehensive general medicine, intensive therapy
Eladia Cuenca Arce, clinical laboratory
Paula Pompa Márquez, microbiology
Isabel María Oliva Licea, transfusion medicine
Andrés Aguilar Charon, chemistry education
Dioenis de la Caridad Campoamor Hernández, health care technology
Martha Alfreda Zamora González, immunology
Agustín Rodríguez Soto, professor of stomatology
Geisy Pérez Pérez, nursing
Marlenis Sánchez Tuzón, MD, clinical laboratory
Lazara Josefina Linares Jiménez, clinical laboratory
Yunia Delgado Peña, nursing
María Libia Paneque Gamboa, professor, Uniología Institutos Médicos
Dimey Arguelles Toledo, nursing
Katiuska Garboza Savón, professor, clinical laboratory
Victoria Priscila Moreno Zambrano, clinical laboratory
Maria Cristina Varela Alejo, pharmacy
Gliceria Alicia Díaz Santa Cruz, health care technology
Dania Victoria Rodríguez Hidalgo, nursing
René Camacho Díaz, professor, maxillofacial surgery
Yaimy Royero Martínez, surgical nursing
“In politics, money talks. It has the first and the last word. The medical missions in Venezuela won’t be cancelled. Speculation is that the price of oil will rise and, if that happens, the income we receive from that program should also rise,” explains an official from the Cuban Ministry of Public Health who, as is always the case, fears government reprisal and prefers to remain anonymous and out of sight.
“The Angola mission,” he points out, “is a different sort of thing. They are not sending doctors to be doctors but rather to be instructors. They are going there to teach classes, not to see patients.
“This is predicted to be Cuba’s most profitable economic endeavor, more than tourism or remittances from overseas. We are talking about a massive shipment of doctors and other medical personnel as part of an exchange agreement that will guarantee favorable crude oil prices.
“Also, on January 12 a US government program, the Cuban Medical Professional Parole Program, was cancelled, easing fears that our physicians will abandon their overseas missions.”