A Truly Deserved Nobel

By Ángel Guerra Cabrera on June 24, 2020

Cuban doctors in Algeria

A group of important personalities have launched an initiative to ask for the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to the Cuban medical brigades that fight the Covid-19 in 27 countries and that over the years have intervened heroically in the face of numerous natural disasters and epidemics around the world.

The idea is very fair and timely because Cuban internationalist doctors are, in these times of pandemic, extreme inequality and unbearable social injustice, a difficult to equal paradigm of human solidarity and dedication to the cause of saving lives.

This, in marked comparison to the unbridled selfishness of the America First approach, led by Donald Trump, in which the White House exposes the health and lives of millions of Americans on the altar of business is business, triggering the unbridled spread of the virus and death, as if the extremely serious human rights violations it systematically commits, both within and outside its borders, were few and far between.

If the Nobel Prize is to be an award for those who seek the common good, justice and international cooperation, these candidates are deserving of it, as Noam Chomsky stated, no country has had an internationalist attitude like Cuba’s in the face of the pandemic. To support the nomination sign at www.CubaNobel.org

Chomsky is precisely one of those who advocates for the awarding of the prize to the Cuban doctors along with Nobel Prize winners Adolfo Pérez Esquivel and Alice Walker, the leader of the Brazilian Landless Movement Joao Pedro Stédile, journalist Ignacio Ramonet, actors Danny Glover and Mark Ruffalo, musicians Chico Buarque, Silvio Rodríguez and Tom Morello, writers Luis Britto and James Early and directors Oliver Stone and Pedro Costa.

A campaign to support the initiative has been launched in Brazil by theologian Leonardo Boff and the Brazilian chapter of the Network in Defense of Humanity, and there are similar calls in France, Greece, Argentina and Italy.

The movement is expanding rapidly while from the State Department in Washington, with Pompeo at its head, there spews irrepressible hatred, poison and threats against Cuban medical cooperation day after day.

It is natural that a philo-fascist group, such as the one that today holds the power of the government of the North, is angered by an activity of such deep humanist content and totally contrary to the logic of the market. It is also a question of depriving Cuba of its primary source of foreign exchange, since although in poor countries Cuba’s cooperation is almost free, or entirely free, there are many others that do give a contribution.

It should be remembered that half of Cuba’s 6250 doctors in 1959 deserted shortly after the triumph of the Revolution. But in 1960, Havana sent a medical brigade to assist the victims of the mega-earthquake that struck Chile. In 1963, it sent a brigade of 55 doctors to newly independent Algeria. From then on, it was common to find Cuban doctors in Africa. In 1970 they sent a medical brigade to Peru to assist the victims of the earthquake in Ancash.

The vision and political will of Fidel Castro led to an early program of training for health personnel that has led to the existence today of 13 medical universities that has established Cuba as one of the countries with more doctors per inhabitants in the world. It has also led to the creation of the large complex of biomedical research centers, which has been essential in the production of state-of-the-art medicines despite the increasingly suffocating U.S. blockade, protect the population from many infectious diseases and nationally produces eight of the vaccines administered annually.

Since 1963, more than 600,000 Cuban health workers have provided their services in more than 164 countries. More than 2000 fight the coronavirus in 28 nations, about 700 in Mexico. In the Caribbean, more than 600 do so.

In 2005, following the devastation that followed the path of Hurricane Katrina through New Orleans, Fidel proposed to the United States government the sending of a large medical force to assist the victims. With Bush in the presidency the answer was negative but the fact gave rise to the creation by the commander of the International Contingent of Doctors Specialized in Situations of Disasters and Serious Epidemics; the Henry Reeve Brigades. Reeve was a young man from Brooklyn who died fighting in the Cuban Independence Army, where due to his courage and ability he earned the rank of Brigadier General at a very young age and continues to receive great admiration and affection from the Cubans.

Since its inception, the contingent has responded to earthquakes (Pakistan, 2005; Indonesia, 2006; Peru, 2007, China, 2008; Haiti, 2010; Chile, 2010; Nepal, 2015; Ecuador, 2016), heavy rains (Guatemala, 2005; Bolivia, 2006; Mexico, 2007; El Salvador, 2009; Chile, 2015; Venezuela, 2015), medical emergencies (cholera in Haiti, 2010; Ebola in Sierra Leone, Guinea Conakri, Liberia, 2014) and hurricanes (Dominican Republic, 2015; Fiji Islands, 2016; Haiti, 2016).

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