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USA's Pompeo criticises SA, Qatar for accepting doctors from Cuba

The USA’s top diplomat applauded leaders in Brazil, Ecuador, Bolivia, and other countries for what he called 'refusing to turn a blind eye to abuses by the Cuban regime'.

FILE: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at a press briefing on 11 December 2019 in Washington. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG - US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday criticised South Africa and Qatar for accepting doctors from Cuba to battle coronavirus, accusing the communist island of profiting from the pandemic.

Cuba’s globe-trotting doctors have long been a source of diplomatic soft power and pride for Havana, but Pompeo said the medical workers only benefited their government and he encouraged them to defect.

Pompeo applauded leaders in Brazil, Ecuador, Bolivia, and other countries for what he called “refusing to turn a blind eye to abuses by the Cuban regime".

The US’ top diplomat said he would ask all countries to do the same including places like South Africa and Qatar.

Pompeo said governments accepting Cuban doctors should pay them directly. He argued that when they paid the regime, they were helping the Cuban government turn a profit on human trafficking.

WATCH: Cuban doctors arrive in SA to assist in fight against COVID-19

For official information about COVID-19 from the Department of Health, please click here.