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8759: Castro and Aristide tour museum (fwd)
From: leonie hermantin <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Castro and Aristide tour museum; Haitian chief winds up trip
Posted July 19 2001
HAVANA -- The hope of Haiti, the most impoverished country in the Western
Hemisphere, is to advance from misery to simple poverty, Haitian President
Jean-Bertrand Aristide told Cuban university students Thursday.
During his talk at the University of Havana, Aristide said that ``no
government can talk about successes or triumphs without the conditions of
``Education for everyone _ that is what we want, to make a human
investment,'' Aristide said as he wrapped up his first official visit to
Cuba. ``Health for everyone _ that is what we want, to make a human
``Our struggle today is to be rich ... our struggle is to pass from misery
to poverty,'' he added.
It was Aristide's first visit to Cuba since he was re-elected to a
nonconsecutive second term last November. He was ending his first
presidential term when the two countries re-established diplomatic relations
in 1996. Cuba has increasingly reached out to help Haiti, its neighbor to
the east, in recent years. More than 600 Cubans currently are volunteering
services in Haiti in the fields of public health, education, fishing,
agriculture, sugar, construction and sports.
During the visit that began Monday, Aristide has thanked Cuba for its
assistance to his country.
Aristide met with President Fidel Castro during his stay, and accompanied
him Wednesday night on a tour of Cuba's newly renovated National Museum of
Renovation of the museum complex, anchored by the Palacio de Bellas Artes,
or Palace of Fine Arts, and the nearby Asturian Center took more than two
years and cost more than $14.5 million. The complex features nearly 50,000
works of art, ranging from the colonial period to modern times.
Speaking for three hours at the museum's door after the tour, Castro denied
reports from Miami that his government had sold precious works of art during
the 1990s to help survive the nation's financial crisis.
``Not only are they not for sale, they will be defended with the blood of
our people,'' he said.
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