Diplomatic relations between Cuba and Bolivia were reestablished on January 11, 1983, during the government of President Hernán Siles Zuazo. With the rise to power of Evo Morales Ayma, the first indigenous president in Bolivia’s history, bilateral cooperation reached new levels, maintained to this day.
The benefits over the years of collaboration between the island and the Andean nation, Latin American integration initiatives such as the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America – Peoples’ Trade Treaty (ALBA-TCP) are innumerable.
The Cooperation Agreement between La Paz and Havana came into force in 2006 and was signed by the leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro, and Bolivian President Evo Morales, who had recently assumed his first term.
One of the main sectors for cooperation is health. The Cuban Medical Brigade has spent a decade providing services in the Andean nation, where several hundred collaborators are present, according to the website Infomed.
As reported by the Embassy of Cuba in Bolivia, at a recent event to celebrate ten years of cooperation, the head of the Medical Brigade, Dr. Pável Noa, noted that during this period, 63 million medical consultations have been undertaken and more than 79,000 lives have been saved, while 4,732 Bolivian general practitioners have graduated.
According to the Cuban Foreign Ministry, several Cuban agencies participate in bilateral cooperation programs, with the majority of collaborators affiliated with the Ministry of Public Health, both as part of the Comprehensive Health Program and Operation Miracle, through which thousands of patients have regained their vision or seen chronic conditions markedly improved.
The President of Bolivia, Evo Morales, laid a wreath at the José Martí Memorial, accompanied by Party Political Bureau member and a Vice President of the Council of State, Mercedes López Acea. Photo: Jorge Luis González
Another program was the Operation Moto Méndez, to undertake a diagnostic study to identify and locate Bolivians with disabilities in order to develop a program to provide the support and care they require.
The Cuban literacy programs “Yo sí puedo” (Yes, I can) and “Yo sí puedo seguir” (Yes, I can continue) are of great importance for the indigenous lower classes of the Bolivian population, raising their educational level and allowing for greater participation in the current literacy program.
With the implementation of the Cuban program, UNESCO declared Bolivia as Free of Illiteracy in 2008.