The novel coronavirus is wreaking havoc across the whole world and has left a trail of devastation in its way. Cuba has been sending its “army of white robes” to different countries around the world in spirited attempts to fight the virus that has caused so much stress.
The striking thing about Cuba sending doctors all over the world to fight COVID-19 is that in doing so, it is defiantly standing up to the United States. The US has been upholding the six-decade sanctions against Cuba with some sinister zest, completely ignoring that the world is reeling under one of the worst health disasters ever.
The US still claims that the Cuban government is the only reason why the country is not developing and why its people suffer. The legacies of the Cold War have been carried on to this day, with the US staving off programs employed by the Cuban government to ensure public health safety. The US is still in a battle against communism in Cuba right up to this day.
In the middle of a global crisis, Cuba has bolstered its medical diplomacy by deploying state medical doctors to battle COVID-19 in at least 14 countries, which include Italy. The latest country where Cuba has sent its doctors is Honduras.
The West is of course allied with the United States as regards sanctions against Cuba, but that has not stopped the Caribbean island from sending its doctors to those very same nations.
Cuba sent 52 doctors and nurses to the city of Crema in the hard-hit Lombardy region of northern Italy where they set up a field hospital with 32 beds equipped with oxygen and three ICU beds.
Lombardy’s top social welfare official, Giulio Gallera, said “This is a strong symbolic moment because the Crema hospital has been going through an extremely complicated situation from the start. The number of patients who have filled and continue to fill the emergency room and departments has truly put the medical personnel to a hard test.”
President Trump has been unrelenting in cutting off supplies and funding to Cuba, while urging other countries not to contract the state-employed medical doctors from Cuba. Cuba’s medical efforts around the world mean that they have about 37,000 medical workers in 67 countries, most in longstanding missions. Some of the doctors are part of free aid missions, but many countries pay the Cuban government directly for the services of the medical doctors. Cuba says it receives about $6 billion a year from the export of public services, and medical services make up most of that.
Some countries whose governments have allied with the US such as Brazil have expelled Cuban doctors from their countries.
The effect of sanctions against Cuba was felt when donations by Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba Foundation did not reach the country. This is because Colombia’s Aviance airline refused to ferry the supplies (which included face masks, ventilators, and rapid test kits). Its main shareholder is a US-based company and feared legal action for doing business with Cuba.
The medical personnel sent to Honduras is made up of four emergency surgeons, two epidemiologists, six intensive-care nurses, and four biomedical technicians.
Cuba has bemoaned the effect of sanctions on how they are restricting it in terms of purchasing medical supplies to combat COVID-10. Despite the sanctions, it continues to send its doctors to various parts of the world to fight the deadly virus.