Hmm. I know it is probably a propaganda ploy but you would think that Herr Bush would jump at the opportunity to reduce Medicaid and Medicare costs by allowing Cuba to pick up the tab. Fidel knows this will only help show Bush's policies towards Cuba as being ridiculous and over the top. He knows that Bush would never OK such a thing no matter what the benefit would be. Bush wouldn't even allow the hundreds of doctors Castro offered in the wake of Katrina to provide much needed services. In my mind, if Cuba is so horrible, allowing all those doctors in should be an invitation to defect to the US. Maybe they were worried no one would. Too bad. Many American citizens would benefit from quality eye surgery. I wonder if the American Interests Section in Havana will scroll this item across their windows on their electronic message board? I mean, they are so interested in giving the Cuban people much needed information from the "free" world, aren't they?
Fidel offers free eye care to US poor
"We'll send planes to pick them up," says Cuban leader
Fidel Castro, the Cuban president, has offered free eye operations to impoverished Americans and asked the US government to let them travel to his country for treatment.
Castro made the offer late on Sunday as he criticized American policies toward his country during a three-hour appearance on state television and announced a protest march for Tuesday outside the American embassy in Havana.
Because travel to Cuba by most Americans is prohibited under US sanctions, Castro asked US authorities to give Americans official permission to travel to Cuba for the operations.
"We're ready to send an airplane to Florida to pick them up," Castro said. Cuba would foot the costs of flights, accommodation and the surgery, Castro said.
Cuba has all the equipment and specialized personnel considered among the best specialists in the world, he said. He asked if the US government would prohibit those people from traveling to the island and "sentence them to blindness".
However, political relations between America and Cuba are worsening so American approval to let its citizens travel - even for health reasons - appeared unlikely.
Cuba teamed up with Venezuela in recent months for a free eye surgery programme that brings impoverished people from around the region to the island for free treatment.
Venezuela, meanwhile, recently expanded its programme to provide subsidized heating oil to poor Americans.