The 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl accident and the cooperation of Cuba in assisting those affected.
Today marks the 25th Anniversary of the disaster at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Due to its scope and complexity, this serious catastrophe brought about persistent effects on the lives and health of the population, particularly children, of the affected areas of Ukraine, Belarus, the Russian Federation and other countries.
In response to the request for international assistance, early in 1990 Cuban specialists visited Ukraine with the objective of determining the type of assistance that could be provided. On March 29 that year, the first 139 affected children arrived in Cuba to receive medical treatment.
From that moment on, a massive and free of charge comprehensive health program begun, aimed at providing treatment in Cuba for the children affected by the Chernobyl accident.
As part of that humanitarian program, which is 21 years old already, 25,395 affected people from several countries, including 21,340 children mostly from Ukraine, have received treatment in Cuba. Over 300 children have undergone surgery in our country.
Besides the humanitarian aspect of the Program, unquestionably the most important one, it has had a significant scientific impact. Important data on internal contamination in infants from the affected areas have been gathered. This information has been spread in important scientific events and used by agencies of the United Nations system, such as the International Atomic Energy Agency and the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation.
Cuba does not give what it has in excess, but shares what it has. The program to treat the children affected by the Chernobyl catastrophe is another example of our humanitarian and internationalist policy.
New York, 26 April 2011