Thank you, Cuban Doctors

By Fernando Morais on November 28, 2018

Cuban doctor in Brazil, photo: Araquem Alcantara

About 40 years ago, in 1977 or so, I was doing an interview in Africa, on the Mauritanian border, on my way to the Saharawi Republic, and at one of the stops I heard a group of people in a village, next to a small oasis. I heard them speaking Spanish in a place that would be comparable to a Brazilian favela, and  so I went there with my Arabic guide. I saw that they were people dressed in white and I asked them if they were doctors and they replied “yes, we are doctors, Cuban doctors”, I asked them: “how.. what are you doing here?”, and they replied “we are working here in Africa, helping poor countries”.

It was the first time I saw a Cuban doctor working somewhere in the world. Cuba comes regardless, a country that can pay, pays, a country that can’t pay, doesn’t pay. This is how proletarian internationalism works. So seeing the Brazilian government forcing Cuba to make the decision to leave, based on their dignity, and with an attitude that makes us proud to be friends of the Cuban Revolution. But at the same time what has happened leaves us deeply melancholic because we know that those who are going to pay are the poor who are scattered throughout thousands of cities on the Brazilian borders and we know that the “clean” doctors, those who go through expensive medical courses in expensive universities here in the Southeast of Brazil, will never agree to put their feet in those places of need.

Those poor people, most of them had never seen a doctor in their life until the Cubans arrive. There are documentaries, there are films; we ourselves have made a documentary.

Cuba’s decision… Bolsonaro thought it was enough to show his teeth to the Cubans and they were going to lower their heads and fall in line, he doesn’t know who he’s messing with. Cuba has endured for 60 years in the face of the greatest military, a war power that is the most aggressive that humanity has ever known. Cuba endured diplomatic, economic and military aggressions for 60 years, from the other side of the Florida Strait, and resisted. It will not be a government like this one coming to power in Brazil that is going to make Cuba bow its head.

I say goodbye to my Cuban doctor friends who are leaving and I want to tell you that we are at this moment very ashamed to be Brazilians. A strong eternal embrace, not only from me, but also from millions and millions and millions of Brazilians who owe you a debt that money will never pay. Thank you very much.

Gracias, médicos cubanos. Hasta pronto. Por Fernando Morais

Source: La Pupila Insomne, translation Resumen Latinoamericano, North America bureau