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The former Cuban president Fidel Castro, in his weekly address to the communist nation, hailed this paper and its reporter Nina Lakhani as "brave" and "bold" in its reporting of Cuban medics' and healthcare workers' response to the Haitian earthquake disaster.

The IoS last week published an article revealing how Cuban medical personnel, working in 40 centres across the stricken Caribbean island, have treated more than 30,000 cholera patients since October. They are the largest foreign contingent in the country, treating 40 per cent of all cholera cases.

Mr Castro said in his address last Thursday the "well-known British newspaper The Independent on Sunday, with unquestionable prestige in the liberal media... posted a bold article by journalist Nina Lakhani, entitled 'Cuban doctors in Haiti put the world to shame'".

He added: "It is with wonderful sincerity and clarity with which Nina Lakhani and The Independent on Sunday published this brave article about how the Haitian people suffered a tragedy that has already cost the lives of 3,000 victims."

Although hundreds of Cuban doctors, nurses and therapists have been in Haiti since 1998, their role receives little coverage in the Western media compared with their US and British counterparts. However, Ms Lakhani's article also drew attention to the paltry salaries and bribery in the Cuban hospital system. Mr Castro said he acknowledged the criticisms, several of which he "shared".

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