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Cuban physicians in Guatemala
Shortly after Hurricane Mitch devastated Central America in October 1998, Cuban doctors arrived in the remote northern Guatemalan town of Santa Catarina La Tinta, located in the Polochic River basin.

The arrival of the Cubans was remembered Thursday with a widely attended ceremony in the community located in a valley between the Las Minas, Santa Cruz and Chama mountain ranges.

Centuries ago, La Tinta, as the community is called, had a boom with the production of vegetable coloring dies. Today, it is one of the areas of least development.

The Cubans arrived to La Tinta in November 1998 to help the victims of Mitch, which spread death and destruction in the area.

A plaque was unveiled to remember the historic date in a ceremony with more than 200 people attending including doctors, students, local residents and officials, and diplomats accredited in Guatemala.

John Henry, head of the Department of the Guatemalan Comprehensive Health System, thanked Cuba for the valuable assistance which he said has contributed to saving many lives.

Omar Morales, the Cuban ambassador in Guatemala, recalled that today 31,000 Cuban health professionals are working in 69 countries.

In the last eight years more than 2,500 Cuban physicians have attended more than 17 million doctor visits in Guatemala and reduced the infant and maternal mortality rates by half, affirmed Leonel Valdez, second in charge of the brigade.

Valdez recalled the history of fraternity between Guatemala and Cuba dating back to the 19th century when the Central American country took in Cuban independence hero Jose Marti.

For that reason, the plaque at the La Tina Hospital contains a thought of Marti: "We seek solidarity, not as an end, but as a way towards having Our America fulfill its universal mission."

Source: Granma

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