The Andorran Press Mocks the Cuban Medical Brigade

The medical brigade with the Andorran Minister of Health, Joan Martínez Benazet. (Capture)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Madrid, July 1, 2020 — The last members of the medical brigade in Andorra now fly back to Cuba without having made the least mention of the two members who abandoned the mission this past week. The head of the group, Luis Enrique Pérez Ulloa, said goodbye to the European principality with self-praise, affirming that they are leaving “with their duty accomplished.”

The health workers left Andorra in a bus around 4:30 in the morning this Wednesday for Spain, which has a connection only by highway, and they boarded a flight in Barcelona to take them to Havana, where they hope to be received with honors by the the Government general staff.

According to the official press, which dedicated a lot of coverage to the brigade’s work but didn’t mention the defection of two of its members, the Minister of Health of Andorra, Joan Martínez Benazet, said good-bye to the group at the Hotel Panorama, where they were staying.

“It’s been a luxury to have the Cuban medical brigade in Andorra,” said the Minister in a video recorded by Prensa Latina, calling it a “sister brigade.” We had a rate of infection of 1,100 persons per 100,000 inhabitants, the equivalent of the most affected cities in Europe,” he said. Martínez Benazet attributed the “rapid control” of the pandemic as well as the ability to treat everyone who was sick without exclusion to the discipline of citizens, the good condition of the health system and the reinforcement from the Cuban health workers.

The number of positive cases detected in Andorra is barely 855, and of these it is known that 52 died and 799 recovered. According to official data, the country’s rate of deaths per 100,000 inhabitants is the third highest in the world, behind San Marino and Belgium and ahead of the UK, Spain and Italy.

Pérez Ulloa related the great achievements of the Cuban brigade, among them that there were more than 64,170 individual instances of providing treatment to a patient. In addition, treatment for cases of Covid-19 were listed as “a total of 178 medical procedures, including mechanical ventilation and deep venous treatments, two temporary pacemaker implants essentially by our professionals (…), four pleurectomies  (pleural drainage), nine continuous dialyses, 19 deep vein thrombosis interventions, 14 treatments for airway disease, 31 mechanical ventilations, 56 anesthetic procedures, 14 hemodialysis catheter insertions and more than 540 patients recovered,” he added.

En Andorra, poco acostumbrados a los panegíricos de Cubadebate, la prensa ha mostrado su perplejidad, incluso llegando a la burla en el caso del diario Altaveu.

In Andorra, little accustomed to the panegyrics of Cubadebate, the press showed its bewilderment and, in the case of the daily Altaveu, even resorted to mockery

“If you read the assessment that the media of the Castro Regime has of the delegation (…), it is thanks to Cuba and the Cuban health workers, that the pandemic, the coronavirus, hasn’t swallowed up Andorra and the Andorrans. It’s been a miracle. (…) The figures are such that it’s evident that the brigade has saved the principality from Covid as, in his day, Charlemagne (medieval emperor who determined Andorran independence and the configuration of Europe) saved these latitudes from other threats,” recites the text.

Furthermore, the article, entitled “The Cuban health workers leave ‘with their duty accomplished’ ” raises doubts about the quantity of treatments cited by Pérez Ulloa.

“Supposedly they treated 821 critically ill patients in the Intensive Care Unit of the Nostra Senyora de Meritxell hospital. It’s obvious and it’s clear that the entire ICU of the hospital hasn’t treated this number of patients, there’s just no way. Its collapse would have been brutal. But in Cuba, of course, they will be heroes. They have been decisive in the recovery of more than 700 patients, which is the total number of all officially counted cases cured, and the Cuban health workers saw barely 20% of them,” the article said.

Altaveu also notes the silence around the “deserters.” “ ‘We return in good health, none of us has fallen ill and we have given the best of ourselves’,” stated the nurse, Leidysbet López. They all return minus two, it’s now known, but not one word was said about the defections. Clearly, it’s as if they didn’t exist,” the newspaper says.

This past Wednesday the leading story was the defection of Dariel Romero, one of the leaders of the brigade, a military doctor with family members in politics. The anesthesiologist presumably fled to Spain, where he has family members, with a Cuban nurse whose identity is unknown and with whom he is suspected of having a sentimental relationship that began in Andorra.

Although the details aren’t yet known, this personal situation, along with the climate of discontent with the Cuban consul in Barcelona, Alain González, who supervised the brigade in an authoritarian manner, are among the decisive factors for the “desertions,” according to Andorran sources.

The 39 Cuban health workers arrived in March in the small European state, a tax haven of almost 80,000 people situated in the Pyrenees between Spain and France, as a result of a contract whose terms are still unknown and which was financed by a millionaire family linked to Andorra, the Sirkias.

Translated by Regina Anavy


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