On May 5, 2010 a moving ceremony was held in Havana, Cuba to mark the continuing success of the Canadian Network on Cuba (CNC)'s Cuba For Haiti Campaign. The campaign, launched in January 2010 in response to the earthquake disaster has thus far raised nearly $100,000 to support the Cuban Henry Reeves Medical Brigade in Haiti. Participating in the event, held at the headquarters of the Instituto Cubano de Amistad con los Pueblos (Cuban Institute for Friendship with the Peoples - ICAP), were Raciel Proenxa Rodríguez, Director of Economic Cooperation, Ministry of Foreign Commerce and Investment, Isaac Saney, Co-Chair and National Spokesperson of the CNC, officials of ICAP, members of the Canada-Cuba solidarity movement and Haitian youth studying in Cuba.
Proenxa thanked the CNC for its contribution and explained where the money is being spent. At the time of the earthquake in Haiti, 402 Cuban internationalists, 302 of them medical personnel, had already been helping Haitians, Proenxa pointed out. Since the earthquake, he explained, Cuban cooperation has grown to 1,304 persons, with 679 Cubans, and 625 graduates and students from 26 other countries, trained and educated free of cost at Cuba's Latin American School of Medicine. He further noted that as of May 4, 2010, 330,306 patients have been treated, with 8,428 surgeries performed. Proenxa emphasized that Cuban assistance encompasses more than just the provision of immediate medical attention. It is now also focused on strengthening and rebuilding the Haitian healthcare system. Toward those ends, the Cuban medical and paramedical internationalists work in 56 hospitals and healthcare centres, and have installed and equipped 30 rooms, in which 85, 401 patients have been treated.
On behalf of the CNC, Saney stressed that the Cuban internationalist mission not only assists the Haitian people at a time of great need, but underscores the magnitude of the island's generosity and national altruism. In this regard, the success of the Cuba for Haiti Campaign lies not only in the money that has been raised but also in the possibility it offers to participate in a truly humane solidarity project, Saney said. Saney recalled that in 1998 at a meeting between then Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien and Cuban President Fidel Castro, the leader of the Cuban Revolution proposed a joint Cuba-Canada cooperative project to rebuild the Haitian healthcare system. Cuba could provide the personnel and Canada could contribute the material resources required, Castro pointed out. Even though Chrétien ignored the proposal, the CNC decided to take it up, Saney said. The fundraising for Haiti via the Cuban internationalist mission has been very warmly received by Canadians, he said. Despite being ignored by the Canadian monopoly media, the campaign demonstrates the confidence that the Canadian people have in Cuba, he added. He pointed out that some of the contributions have been given by people simply on the grounds that if the money they want to give to Haiti goes through Cuba, they feel confident it will safely reach its destination and not be squandered in corruption or misused. This shows the respect and admiration of Canadians for the Cuban people and their efforts to build and defend a society centred on independence, justice and human dignity, Saney said.