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October 25, 1999

Ryan Visits Children's Hospital; Donates Medical Supplies

HAVANA, CUBA -- Governor George H. Ryan today presented medicine and medical supplies donated by Illinois businesses to the William Soler Children's Hospital in Havana. The hospital tour was part of a four-day humanitarian mission to Cuba led by Ryan, the first sitting U.S. governor to visit Cuba in more than 40 years.

Ryan also toured the Latin American School of Medicine, and met with Cuba's Minister of Public Health, Dr. Carlos Dotres Martinez, to discuss Cuban health concerns. Accompanying Ryan were Dr. John Lumpkin, director of Illinois Department of Public Health, as well as several hospital and healthcare experts from Illinois.

Prior to touring the Children's Hospital, Ryan met privately with dissidents, human rights activists and independent journalists, to discuss conditions in Cuba.

"I want you to know that I respect your strength and your willingness to fight for liberty, basic human rights, and an end to oppression in this country," Ryan told the dissidents. "Abraham Lincoln, Illinois' greatest son, once said: 'No man is good enough to govern another man without that other's consent.' That is a principle that the people of Illinois hold very dear."

Ryan started the day by meeting with the ambassadors of six other nations - Canada, Poland, Portugal, Germany, Switzerland and the Vatican - in a meeting hosted by Ambassador Vicki Huddleston, Chief of the United States Interests Section.

An itinerary of the day's activities is attached.


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