Collaborators of the #BrigadaHenryReeve returned to the country this Thursday from #Panamá Y #México after helping the population of those nations in the fight against #COVID19.”
The contingent has remained in Mexico to help tackle the COVID-19 pandemic amid the last upsurge. The 56 doctors and 39 nurses worked at the general hospital, Institute of Social Security and Services of State Workers, of Tláhuac, performing “499 major and minor surgeries, 245 thousand 461 nursing procedures and actions, and more than 40 thousand training on biosafety measures,” as reported by Prensa Latina.
The doctors treated 1,165 patients with SARS-CoV-2, saved 184 lives, and rehabilitated 158 people. The Henry Reeve International Brigade has served in several countries from Africa, Europe, and Latin America amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Belly of The Beast is a media outlet that counters parachute journalism by providing stories directly from the island. The documentary series, The War on Cuba, gives an inside look on the effects of U.S. sanctions on Cuban people. Episode 3 explores Cuba’s healthcare program and medical brigades. We talk to doctors who served in Brazil, Bolivia and Italy, and of course the ones who held it down in Cuba during COVID-19.
Belly of The Beast is a media outlet that counters parachute journalism by providing stories directly from the island. The documentary series, The War on Cuba, gives an inside look on the effects of U.S. sanctions on Cuban people.
“Cuba should be a shoo-in” to win a Nobel Prize for sending doctors to health trouble spots and poor countries around the globe, said Don Fitz, a scholar and Green Party activist whose most recent book is titled “Cuban Healthcare: The Ongoing Revolution.” However, “given how much influence the United States has,” Fitz wouldn’t be surprised if Cuba doesn’t get the Prize.
The Nobel Peace Prize winner Rigoberta Menchú said today that 60 years of the criminal blockade against Cuba constitute a true offense to humanity and condemned the current campaign to discredit the island’s medical cooperation.
‘It is urgent to demand the cessation of this Blockade led by the United States, which today adapts and expresses itself in a media escalation to discredit Cuba and in actions of direct attacks on diplomatic relations involving scientific, technical, academic and cultural exchange between the Republic of Cuba and the rest of the world, ‘Menchú called in a statement to which Prensa Latina had access.
In her opinion, it is an offense to intelligence and universal culture to accuse the Greater Antilles of trafficking, forced labor, modern slavery, committing crimes against humanity against its doctors deployed in different continents in labor humanitarian.
Unheard of, truly outrageous and unacceptable, she expressed, it is that they compare Cuban humanitarian medical work with the abominable practices of human history, such as crimes against humanity, human trafficking and contemporary slavery, and therefore, she claimed, ‘it is morally necessary to raise your voice’.
In her writing, the renowned Guatemalan fighter for human rights urges the great personalities, leaders, scientists, humanitarian and democratic forces of the world to ‘denounce and condemn this legal aberration, this manipulation and misrepresentation of profound principles of law and diplomacy. international’.
According to Menchú, the intensification of the attack on Cuba’s scientific and medical cooperation is part of a rearrangement of the forms and methods assumed by the economic blockade imposed by the United States since 1960 and which marks six decades.
It is no coincidence, she warned, that the blockade campaign is intensifying at a time when humanity is a victim of Covid-19 and the International Contingent ‘Henry Reeve’ is working in 41 pandemic combat brigades in 38 countries.
From her perspective, the Cuban Revolution, protected by a very broad social vision, extends an exemplary and unique policy throughout the world: bringing health and life expectancy to where poverty, extreme poverty, hunger and malnutrition prevail.
‘Indigenous peoples, the vulnerable sectors of the world and slaves to that reality of precariousness and slavery that they have had to live, we have much to recognize and thank the internationalist medical brigades, the Cuban people and the government, because thanks to this, we have had health care and services that would otherwise remain unknown, “he said.
She recalled that this is the experience in Guatemala, where more than 400 Cuban doctors for more than 20 years have been working in the poorest communities in the country and carrying out a task that many nationals do not want to face.
The actions of the current Secretary General of the Organization of American States or OAS, Mr. Almagro is consistent with the pro-US and pro-imperialist tradition of the organization that he leads.
However, perhaps unlike the previous Secretary Generals of the OAS, who largely gave or tried to give a semblance of fair-play in conducting OAS affairs on behalf of its member countries, Almagro has made it clear from the start that he will proudly and unabashedly prostitute his organization in the interest of the deep state and the regional oligarchy.
Apparently willing to do anything to advance the reactionary agenda of his Washington bosses, Almagro has now set his eyes on the vain objective of discrediting the international reputation and respect of the Cuban Medical International Cooperation Program.
This internationalist program of the Cuban Revolution has sent thousands of doctors, nurses and other medical personnel to provide assistance to millions of peasants, workers and poor people on every continent on Earth – many of whom have never seen a doctor, dentist or nurse in their lives. In so doing, Cuban medical brigades have saved lives, cured diseases, trained local medical personnel, often in some of the most remote areas on the planet.
Why would the SG (secretary General) of the OAS take time out of his busy schedule to attack and discredit a medical program that has almost single handedly brought Ebola in West Africa under control, saving hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of lives in Africa? Why would Mr. Almagro want to discredit a medical program that is usually one of the first to send doctors and other medical personnel to save lives in countries that are ravaged by natural disasters such as the earthquakes in Haiti, Ecuador and Nepal a few years ago? Why would he want to discredit the prestige and respect of Cuba’s medical program that has helped millions of poor and working people over the decades in countries like Brazil, Jamaica, Grenada, Barbados, Venezuela, Guinea Bissau, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and so many more where imperialism and the local oligarchs have done everything to decimate health care services by underfunding and underinvesting in the training of doctors and other medical personnel and health facilities?
The answer is resoundingly simple, US imperialism are worried that everywhere Cuba’s doctors, nurses, dentists and other medical personnel go to save the lives of the victims of poor health, another nail is driven in the heart of capitalism and imperialism and another star ⭐️ on the banner of Cuba’s revolution.
The US empire is no doubt equally concerned that through Cuba’s internationalist medical program, their long-standing strategy to isolate the Cuban people and their Revolution has lost traction and appeal amongst the world’s poor who have tangibly benefitted from the Cuban Revolution. Hence, SG Almagro, acting in the role of an undignified servant of the US empire, is deployed to lie, misrepresent and distort Cuba’s internationalist program under the guise of the OAS.
It also appears that the US empire and its local allies are concerned that the more encounters the ordinary folks of the region have with Cuba’s life savers and curers of their diseases, the more they might realize the truth of the words of Fidel Castro that “a better world is possible”; a world in which they will be free to use their resources without being told by the IMF, the World Bank or the US ambassadors in their capitals how much they can or cannot allocate to their health care budgets and other budgets like the Cuban government does freely each year!
So SG Almagro, you may serve imperialism for your own personal benefits. If that is what you want your legacy to be that’s your right, but you should NEVER forget that Cuba’s internationalist medical program will live forever in the hearts and minds of millions of poor all over the planet. Those who have been served by the Cuban medical brigades will forever be grateful to a free and sovereign country called Cuba, working under the nose of a brutal warmongering empire living out its final days! A new day is dawning, your lies will fall by the wayside!
“Our people can rest assured that the Cuban government, like the Kenyan government, is making a tremendous effort, paying special attention to this issue…The priority is that that they return safe and sound,” stated Council of Ministers Vice-President Inés María Chapman Waugh
“Kenyan authorities confirmed that both doctors, Assel Herrera and Landy Rodriguez, are doing well and that they continue efforts, as will our country, to secure their safe return to Cuba,” said Inés María Chapman Waugh, a Council of Ministers vice-president, speaking with the press regarding the recently held Ninth Summit of the Association of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (ACP), held in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya.
“Our people can rest assured that the Cuban government, like the Kenyan government, is making a tremendous effort, paying special attention to this issue. The important thing is that our doctors return safely to our country. The priority is that that they return safe and sound,” she stated.
The Cuban delegation that participated in the ACP Summit held a meeting with the country’s health collaborators in this sister African nation, participating in a mission which has had “a very positive impact.”
Addressing the situation of the abducted Cubans, Inés María Chapman said: “The doctors are well, they are safe. Some doctors who were working on the border have been relocated closer to the capital. They are very committed to what they are doing and are willing to continue their tasks, with a commitment to our Revolution and also to the people of Kenya.”
The 9th ACP Summit was held in Nairobi, December 9- 10. During the high-level meeting, Cuba’s representative addressed the main topics of bilateral and multilateral cooperation, including progress in implementing the Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement between Cuba and the European Union, as well as prospects for cooperation between the two parties.
Chapman held a cordial meeting with the host President, His Excellency Uhuru Kenyatta, and expressed the Cuban government’s appreciation for efforts being made by that country to achieve the safe return of doctors Assel Herrera and Landy Rodríguez. Bilateral meetings were also held with 12 ACP member delegations and with the European Union’s Commissioner for International Associations.
Speaking at the meeting, Chapman expressed Cuba’s gratitude to the peoples and governments of ACP countries for their traditional position repudiating the U.S. blockade, noting that in recent months the United States government has intensified its policy of economic war against the island. In addition, she commented on the noble, human work of Cuban doctors on medical missions around the world, and denounced the slander and lies spread by the U.S. government on this subject.
“Likewise,” she stated, “We are grateful for the recognition, expressed at the Ninth ACP Summit, for our country’s medical collaboration policy, and reaffirm our commitment to maintain cooperation with these countries.”
Some 100 Cuban professionals are currently serving on the medical brigade providing solidarity assistance in Kenya.
Cuba denounced the new attack by the Organization of American States (OAS) against international medical collaboration.
The call for a forum in Washington on Wednesday sponsored by the OAS seeks to discredit the participation of Cuban health specialists in social programs in Third World countries, Cubaminrex stated.
The conference is part of the defamatory campaign launched by the White House to attack the Cuban Revolution in those fields where it is most admired, Johana Tablada, deputy director general of the U.S. Ministry of Foreign Affairs, affirmed.
Johana described as shameful the intention to attack an activity that benefits millions of human beings in the world, being part of the South-South cooperation plans, protected by International Law, the United Nations programs and the World Health Organization.
With this approach, Almagro once again goes against the people and serves the most reactionary interests of the Donald Trump government and the oligarchies that support it, she added.
These aid workers offer their services voluntarily, driven by a humanist conviction, in a disinterested way, and respond to this task as a genuine internationalist duty.
As MINREX warned in a statement released August 29, 2019, the United States government has, since last year, been waging an intense, offensive campaign against the medical collaboration Cuba provides, along with threats of sanctions against Cuban leaders and pressure on recipient states to end such cooperation.
Directed in detail by the National Security Council at the White House, the campaign has the active participation of Senators and Representatives associated with the anti-Cuban mafia in Florida and rabid State Department officials.
They accuse Cuba of alleged “modern slavery” and “trafficking in persons,” referring to Cuban health system professionals, for the purpose of their exploitation and alleged interference in the internal affairs of the nations in which they are located.
Active efforts to incite defection
The U.S. government is also attempting to re-establish the so-called “Parole Program for Cuban Medical Professionals,” in existence until January 12, 2017, as the basis for active efforts to incite defection, offering to pay for travel and legal services, provision of U.S. visas and documents to collaborators in third countries, with the purpose of sabotaging bilateral agreements signed with these nations, depriving them of our services and depriving Cuba of highly qualified human resources.
In May of 2019, the secretary general of the Organization of American States organized a conference at its headquarters on the alleged crimes against humanity committed by Cuba in connection with our medical cooperation abroad.
In June, the State Department, in its 2019 Report on Trafficking in Persons, disparaged Cuba’s international medical cooperation and, a month later, imposed visa-restriction sanctions on Cuban officials linked to medical missions.
$3m earmarked for projects against Cuba’s medical brigades
Later, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), a U.S. institution that provides funds for subversion programs against the Cuban government, earmarked three million dollars for projects directed against Cuba’s medical brigades abroad.
This U.S. persecution began in Latin America and has forced the suspension of cooperation programs in Brazil, Ecuador and Bolivia.
The servile, fascist Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro insulted and abruptly expelled our specialist doctors who, under a tripartite agreement with the Pan American Health Organization, effective August 2013 through November 2018, treated 113,359,000 patients in more than 3,600 of the country’s municipalities, and provided permanent coverage to 60 million Brazilians.
In our country, 1,214 Brazilian students have completed medical school.
This decision allowed Bolsonaro to demonstrate his subservience to the U.S. government, while dismantling a program for low-income families, as part of a brutal policy to eliminate social gains made during progressive Workers Party governments.
Senior U.S. officials have used the slander that Cuban medical brigades in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela are military troops, which Bolsonaro parroted, in September of 2019, during his speech in the United Nations General Assembly, maliciously or ignorantly tripling, in a ridiculous manner, the false, unfounded figure used by Washington.
Officials from the State Department, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and U.S. embassies have turned to national authorities, as in Guatemala, to peremptorily and suspiciously request precise data on Cuban medical cooperation, looking for a way to eliminate it.
In May of 2019, the U.S. embassy in Ecuador asked senior government officials for detailed information on agreements and services provided by Cuban collaborators. Five months later, the Ecuadorian government terminated these programs precipitously, despite their imminent expiration, citing economic reasons.
6,749,666 medical consultations by Cuban health professional in Ecuador
Since the beginning of medical collaboration in this country, a total of 3,565 Cuban health professionals have provided their services, including 6,749,666 medical consultations, 212,360 surgeries, 3,548 births assisted, and 100,084 vaccinations administered. Some 153 collaborators participated in Operation Miracle, a program through which 168,543 surgical interventions were performed. As a result of the Manuela Espejo Solidarity Mission, 825,576 people were assisted, 35,257 of them in specialized neurophysiology and otorhinolaryngology consultations and 21,062 patients underwent clinical genetic studies.
2093 Ecuadoreans completed medical studies in Cuba
Additionally, 2093 young Ecuadorians completed medical studies in Cuba.
In October, Ecuador’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs requested information on the purpose of trips to the country by a group of Cuban citizens carrying diplomatic and official passports. Later, the Minister of Government offensively declared that several Cubans, associated with cooperation agreements, had participated in protests by the Ecuadorian people against the implementation of neoliberal measures, at that time.
As has been shown, no Cuban participated in or organized these massive popular demonstrations, and not a single official or diplomatic passport was improperly used. The manipulators have not been able to present a single piece of evidence.
The Cuban state issues diplomatic, official and service passports, in accordance with the provisions of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic and Consular Relations, and guarantees that the holders comply with what is established for their proper use.
Hostile actions against Cuban collaborators in Bolivia
During the coup in Bolivia, the U.S. embassy in La Paz instigated, conducted, and participated in hostile actions by police forces and, surprisingly by firefighters, against Cuban collaborators. As was publicly denounced, U.S. officials participated directly in these acts, using a U.S. diplomatic car with license plate 28 CD-17.
During these days, there were 26 serious incidents against our collaborators, including the beating of two; public incitement to violence by coup authorities; brutal searches of their persons, belongings and homes; false accusations; the arbitrary, temporary detention of 50 health workers, four for several days.
Faced with this situation, the Cuban government was forced to proceed with the immediate withdrawal of our personnel, while energetically condemning the false statements of the so-called minister of Health, named by the coup-plotters, who shamelessly exaggerated the value of stipends earned by Cuban medical specialists, in reality lower than those of Bolivian general practitioners, and concealing the fact that Cuba did not receive a penny as compensation for this cooperation.
The Cuban medical brigade in Bolivia, 54% female, was composed of 406 doctors in 32 specialties, including General Integral Medicine, Pediatrics, Internal Medicine, Gynecology and Obstetrics, Anesthesiology and Reanimation, Ophthalmology, General Surgery, Orthopedics and Traumatology, Intensive and Emergency Medicine, Neonatology, among others. Also performing outstanding work were 258 graduates in health technologies such as imaging, endoscopy, electromedicine, clinical lab testing, rehabilitation and nursing.
73,330,447 consultations by Cuban health professional in Bolivia
Over the years, they provided 73,330,447 consultations and 1,529,301 surgeries. Some 60,640 births were assisted; 22,221 vaccinations administered; and 508,403 ophthalmic surgeries performed.
5,184 Bolivian doctors graduated from Cuban universities
Additionally, some 5,184 Bolivian doctors graduated from Cuban universities.
The persecution and search for information has included attempts to interrogate Cuban personnel by U.S. “diplomats” in the very health centers where they work, including in North Africa and the Middle East.
It is immoral and unacceptable to question the dignity, professionalism and altruism of the more than 400,000 Cuban health care collaborators who, over 56 years, have completed missions in 164 nations.
They have made outstanding contributions to the fight against Ebola in Africa, against blindness in Latin America and the Caribbean, and cholera in Haiti; in 26 brigades from the Henry Reeve International Contingent of Doctors Specialized in Disasters and Major Epidemics, in Pakistan, Indonesia, Mexico, Ecuador, Peru, Chile and Venezuela, among others.
With the same disinterest and dedication, 35,613 health professionals from 138 countries have been trained free of charge in Cuba.
In the case of nations with less favorable economic conditions, Cuba assumes practically the entire cost of collaboration. Similarly, and in line with United Nations conception of cooperation between developing countries, our support is offered in other nations on the basis of complementarity and partial compensation for services provided.
The Cuban technicians and professionals who participate in these programs do so absolutely of their own free will. During the performance of their missions, they continue to receive their full salary in Cuba, and also a stipend in the country of destination, along with other benefits.
When Cuba receives compensation for our cooperation, these collaborators are meritoriously providing a fair and totally legitimate contribution to the financing, sustainability and development of our country’s free, universal health system, accessible to all Cubans, as well as to cooperation programs provided free of charge, in many parts of the world.
As we stated last August 29, access to health care is a human right. The U.S. campaign against our international medical cooperation is a disgraceful, criminal act against peoples in need of medical assistance, which cannot overshadow the solidarity and human contribution of the 29,000 Cuban health care professionals, who, with enormous sacrifice and understanding on the part of their families, currently provide services to 65 nations.
The attitude of the United States government in this matter is despicable. Cuba’s response is firm: we will continue to save lives, to seek health and well-being for the world, within the limits of our possibilities, wherever we are requested.