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The US denies the visa to the Minister of Health of Cuba to attend a meeting in Washington

October 1, 2019

HAVANA, Oct. 1 (Reuters / EP) –

Cuba has reported on Monday that the Administration of the US president, Donald Trump, has denied the visa to the Cuban Minister of Health, José Ángel Portal Miranda, to attend a meeting of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) in Washington and has accused the United States of repeatedly violating its obligations as host of an international organization.

The Cuban Embassy in Washington said Monday in an email to the guests to go to an event with the minister that the meeting had been canceled because Miranda and his delegation have not received visas.

PAHO is the regional office of the World Health Organization (WHO) for the Americas.

“The United States Government is again arbitrarily and unjustifiably breaching its obligations as a host country for an international organization,” the Cuban Embassy said in the mail.

In early September, Washington ordered the expulsion from the United States of two members of the Cuban delegation to the United Nations for trying to “carry out influential operations” detrimental to the national security of the United States.

The US State Department said it was imposing visa restrictions on Cuban officials responsible for “exploitative” labor practices in the island's medical services export program.

“Taking advantage of the work of Cuban doctors has been the practice of the Castros for decades and continues today,” the State Department said in a statement.

The Trump Administration accused Cuba of detaining medical staff members on missions around the world against their will, sometimes withdrawing their passports.

Cuba has rejected these accusations and affirmed that they are lies intended to tarnish its health service, which generates significant export benefits by sending more than 50,000 workers to more than 60 countries.

Doctors, who often work in poor and remote regions with little health coverage, earn a lot of money according to Cuban standards, even though they only manage to keep 25 percent.

The Trump administration has said it is pressuring the Cuban government to reform. Some analysts claim that it seeks to gather the support of the anti-Castro exiled community in the state of Florida before the presidential elections to be held in 2020.

Many Cubans complain that the measures are affecting the Cuban people. The country suffers a great shortage of fuel and the private sector is recovering from a sharp decline in tourism.