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President Preval hails excellent ties with Cuba

Published:Wednesday | July 7, 2010 | 12:00 AM
Haitian president Rene Preval. - File

Haiti President Rene Preval has hailed his country's "excellent" relationship with Cuba during a weekend stop in the Spanish-speaking country.

Preval, who was on his way to Jamaica for the Caricom heads of government summit, told reporters that Cuba has developed a track record in recent years of being a good partner to his French-speaking nation.

He noted that Cuba was ready to help before and after the catastrophic earthquake that struck Haiti on January 12.

"The Cubans did not wait for the earth tremor to offer their help. They were already working along with us long before," Preval told reporters after meeting with Cuban Vice-President Esteban Lazo.

Cuba's cooperation began in 1998, after Hurricane George hit Haiti. The storm killed more than 220,000 people, wounded more than 300,000 and left nearly 500,000 displaced.

Preval told Prensa Latina, the official state news agency in Cuba, that Haitians think Cuban physicians are extremely important and that they come after God.

The collaboration with Cuba, he adds, has spread to education, agriculture, construction, fishing, aeronautics and the sugar industry.

"Our efforts are aimed at strengthening ties between Havana and Port-au-Prince, which undoubtedly benefit Haitians more than Cubans," said the Haitian leader.

Preval also lauded Venezuela's financial support to develop several three-party programmes, especially in the fields of public health, under which a dozen diagnostic centres will be developed, the Cuban news agency reported.