Solidarity and Cooperation in Two Ways

By Jorge Legañoa Alonso on September 10, 2020

Since COVID-19 made headlines earlier this year and became a pandemic, two words have been repeated, again and again, as alternatives to address the complex global health situation: solidarity and international cooperation, to confront a disease that kills without distinction of race or ideology.

Solidarity and cooperation, a subject in which Cuba, and I say this without chauvinism, can give classes and good examples in giving what we have and not what is left over.

Since the beginning of the emergency at a global level, the Cuban government has sent more than three thousand doctors and nurses from the Henry Reeve contingent, specialized in epidemics and disasters, who have attended patients with COVID-19 in 39 countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East.

A few days ago I was asked by a journalist, who is helping us? And I was left owing a good answer with the promise to look for more information.

Magalys Estrada, Director of Cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment (Mincex), commented to this reporter that after the confirmation of the first cases of COVID-19 – last March -, 274 offers of aid have been received from governments, universities, associations of solidarity with Cuba, foundations, religious groups, individuals and companies from 27 countries, in addition to eight international cooperation agencies.

Up to this minute, such aid is valued at $28 million and cash donations amount to $838,000 dollars. All this without mentioning the so-called private aid that is coming from individuals or family members that arrives through companies like Correos de Cuba, Cubapack and other legal and legitimate ways to make donations.

Perhaps the figures does not seem astronomical next to the millions in expenses that the Cuban public sector makes every day to attend in the country’s health institutions to hundreds of people infected with the new coronavirus and the many others isolated under suspicion, because they are contacts, and all are guaranteed specialized medical assistance, various advanced treatments, food, etc. and all for free.

The data on international cooperation and donations -beyond their value in millions- speaks of the fact that we are NOT alone, that Cuba saves in the world, but also receives, as Marti said that “love with love, is paid”.

According to the Mincex official, our country transparently handles every donation that arrives and it is processed free of customs duties, even respecting the donor’s will about the destination of the resources that are made available. As a principle, donors can accompany the entire process until the final recipient.

Those who have taken seriously sending medical supplies, food, or cash to help in the confrontation with COVID-19, have been able to do so without obstacles, because Cuba has created conditions to process all these donations.

We welcome anyone who, in good faith, without politicizing the issue and in solidarity, wants to help us. Our embassies and the Ministry of Public Health, the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Biocubafarma have all the information they need for this process.

In 2020 – for example – dozens of donations have been received from US entities – churches, charities, associations and non-governmental organizations, individuals, sports entities, environmentalists – from states such as Texas, New York, Florida, which would be much more representative, if it were not for the actions of the Trump Administration to restrict it and to tighten the blockade in every way possible.

While President Donald Trump boasts of denouncing Cuba’s medical cooperation in various parts of the world in the confrontation with the COVID-19, the prestige of Cuban medicine is growing, as is the recognition for the lives saved and the international support for the Nobel Prize for the Henry Reeve contingent.

Undoubtedly, for a nation like ours, besieged to the point of delirium by successive US governments for six decades, international cooperation has an important role to play in dealing with emergencies such as COVID-19 or hurricanes, and in managing exceptional situations.

The hope for a definitive solution to the pandemic lies in a vaccine that immunizes against the coronavirus. We know that this is still some way off. When that time comes, we will again call for solidarity and cooperation so that the vaccine is within the reach of absolutely everyone; rich or poor.

Source: Cubadebate, translation, Resumen Latinoamericano, North America bureau

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