The joint Venezuelan-Cuban effort to expand visual healthcare and prevent blindness among vulnerable sections of the population celebrated 13 years of successful service to Latin America and the Caribbean on Friday.
The Miracle Mission was founded by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, along with Cuban President Fidel Castro in 2004.
According to the Miracle Mission's website, the mission is “motivated by the great expectations created in Venezuela after the expansion of health coverage through the Barrio Adentro mission, when the cooperating Cuban doctors began to see an immense social need in excluded populations among whom it was unlikely that problems of visual health could be addressed through ordinary channels.”
After the vast success of the mission during its first year, Chavez and Castro signed an agreement to continue the mission for another ten years, during which it has continued to expand and serve millions of patients from around Latin America.
The project has a deeply internationalist spirit, bringing life-changing services to excluded populations from almost every country in Latin America.
Speaking at the founding of the mission 13 years ago, President Chavez emphasized the importance of cooperation in areas like health, which he said is a key step toward Latin American integration, “the only way to save our peoples from imperialist hegemony.”
The Miracle Mission is active in 21 countries in Latin America, and 14 Caribbean countries, and has even served patients from the United States.
Cooperation with China has also allowed Venezuela to access better technology, supplies and equipment in the over 20 hospitals that provide free and quality health care to patients with visual diseases.