Cuba’s generosity after Chernobyl

Millions have watched Chernobyl, the TV series about the 1986 nuclear meltdown, and your coverage has been extensive (Report, 13 June). But an important related story has not had a mention at this time of renewed interest. Following the catastrophe, the tiny island of Cuba stepped forward and cared for over 20,000 young cancer victims from 1989 to 2011, – medical care, schooling, clothing, food, accommodation, playgrounds – all free of charge. A specialised medical facility was opened to the east of Havana, and Cuban doctors travelled to the affected region to treat patients in their homeland.

No other country in the world launched such a massive programme. The Cubans responded – as “an ethical and moral”, not a political question, as it was put at the time, and the programme continued despite changing governments in the Ukraine.

Today, the aftermath persists. Just a few weeks ago, Cuba announced that it will resume the programme in a new facility for the sons and daughters of the victims, who are now showing ailments similar to those of their parents. The tightening of the blockade against Cuba (Cuba forced into rationing as US sanctions and Venezuela crisis bite, 11 May) affects not only the Cuban people, but also the thousands of patients being cared for by Cuba’s renowned international medical teams. Surely worth a mention on several counts?
Dr Doreen Weppler-Grogan
Hackney, London

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jun/16/cuba-generosity-after-chernobyl