Long-standing former president of the SVG Cuba Friendship Society, Renwick Rose, has expressed concern about two recent incidents in which Cuban health workers were attacked and wounded in St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG).
In the latest attack which took place on Carnival Tuesday night, Cubans Daima Ves Aecosta and Janet Gameo Fableone were attacked while walking to their home in Brownstown, Georgetown.
Aeocasta is a Cuban medical engineer who is assisting with preparations to begin MRI services here.
Fableone is an X-Ray technician attached to the Modern Medical and Diagnostic Center in Georgetown.
A third Cuban medical professional escaped unharmed in Tuesday night’s attack.
Rose, who is also a spokesperson for the group said “given Cuba’s role in our own development, we have every reason to be concerned that one week later, another incident like that happens.”
In the first incident which took place on July 1, a Cuban medical doctor was attacked and severely wounded.
This incident, which took place at Mc Kies Hill, Kingstown, resulted in Dr Alfredo Batista Salgado sustaining severe injuries to his abdomen.
When contacted by SEARCHLIGHT on Wednesday, Rose said “If it had been two American Peace Corps workers, one week and one week after, we would have been all frantic about whether this is something against America.”
Rose, however, is not concluding that the incidents represent an attack on Cuba.
“It could be that in this general atmosphere of violence and so on that we’ve been having, that they are just random incidents.”
Although the two incidents could have happened randomly, Rose believes that they should be fully investigated and pursued.
He admitted that “it is too early to say” whether the attacks on the Cubans are random or not.
Rose recalled some years ago, when there was a big outcry over an incident involving the purchase of KFC because the government of the day had purchased KFC for some Cubans health professionals who were working in St Vincent and the Grenadines.
In his interview with SEARCHLIGHT on Wednesday, Rose sought to remind the Vincentian public that the Cubans here “are people who were recruited to come here to help us.”
One of the latest victims is a medical engineer working to ensure that Vincentians can soon have MRI testing done locally.
However, his injury in the attack could mean a delay in the start up of that service.
“People may have their own views about Cuba and the Cuban system … but these are people who come here to try and help us.
“We should appreciate what they are trying to do and make sure that they have a sense of safety and comfort and solidarity from the Vincentian people.”
While accepting that we should not go beyond the evidence thus far, Rose said that Cuba has demonstrated it’s support for the Vincentian people, particularly in the field of health.
As such, Rose feels “we have to do something to indicate that we appreciate this, and we will not tolerate this kind of behaviour.”
“Anybody who comes and is of assistance is not a burden to you, but is given valuable service to your country; then we ought to appreciate them.”
Rose made a call for the relevant authorities to show that they are very concerned about this situation, as it could be interpreted as an attack on Cuban citizens.
He pondered about the consequences to St Vincent and the Grenadines should the Cuban government withdraw it’s citizens from here because of security concerns.
A young man who was deemed as a person of interest in Tuesday night’s attack was in the custody of the Georgetown police on Wednesday, as they continued to probe the incident.