The United States of America seems to have accepted the notion of working closely with Cuba in an attempt to globally manage the Ebola epidemic. An official of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention attended a summit in Havana earlier this week. The summit was hosted by the Bolivarian Alliance for the People of Our America (ALBA), an alliance that includes Bolivia, Venezuela and Ecuador, all of which are characterized by their unstable relations with Washington.
Cuba proved itself to be one of the leading countries, offering medical assistance to control the epidemic. When countries such as Canada and Australia imposed visa-bans on the three countries in West Africa with the most Ebola cases, hundreds of Cuban doctors and nurses were sent to Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone to treat the sick.
The development of the Cuban-American relations was made evident when Cuba’s top diplomat was invited by the State Department to attend the Secretary of State, John Kerry’s speech on Ebola. This was criticized by many Republican representatives, such as in the case of Representative Mario Diaz-Balart who said:“It’s a disgrace that the United States sent a representative to an ALBA meeting in Havana and praised the Cuban dictatorship for sending forced medical labor to West Africa,” or in the case of representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who said that “The Castro regime’s decision to send Cuban doctors in a thinly disguised propaganda attempt may put South Florida at risk.”
While some look at this collaboration as “praising the Cuban dictatorship,” others look at it as a positive step towards a more stable relationship between the two countries; by working together to treat Ebola, Cuba managed to give its relationship with the United States a dose of pragmatism. And in spite of the Republican criticism, this recent development seems to be the only upside to the Ebola crisis.