The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the entire world, regardless of latitude, longitude, national borders, or levels of technological and economic development. At an unexpected speed, the virus has spread exponentially among populations, often finding the health systems of many countries unprepared, including European and North American ones.
In order to address the health emergency from its very first impact, Cuba has sent contingents of its “Henry Reeve International Medical Brigade” to more than twenty countries, offering free medical assistance out of solidarity and without asking for any “political exchange” with regard to the harsh embargo the island has been suffering for years. In some cases, such as for Italy, it was the local administrations themselves that asked for Cuba’s health care brigades’ help: and they promptly came with doctors, healthcare personnel and technicians, equipment, and supply. In the first month of the pandemic alone, Cuban medical brigades have travelled to over twenty countries, where they have always been in the front-line assisting local populations affected by the virus.
Cuba’s “International Medical Brigades” have a long history in tackling global health emergencies. For example, in 2014 more than 250 Cuban doctors travelled to west Africa to fight Ebola: the whole international press, starting from The New York Times, then recognized that Cuba played a “leading” role in the victory against that virus. A few years earlier, Cuban doctors were in Haiti, when an earthquake devastated the island causing a terrible cholera epidemic.
After Hurricane Katrina – which devastated the city of New Orleans – they were ready to leave for the United States too – their aid then was refused by the US Administration at that time. At present, in addition to the “missions” against COVID-19, doctors and nurses from Cuba are engaged in almost 70 assignments in various countries throughout the world.
“We do not offer what is left over: we share what we have” is their slogan. A slogan which corresponds to an ideal commitment that puts human life first, no matter the political, social, or economic condition. The number of lives they have saved is inestimable, in both the battle against COVID-19 and in all their other missions: but the tangibility of their profound, human, and international solidarity is the highest example to inspire all peoples of the world in facing the fight against the virus and the difficulties of the “reconstruction”.
Créditos a la foto de cabecera: médicos cubanos en su llegada a Italia para asistir en la lucha contra la covid-19
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