We read in Junge Welt: Shabby US propaganda
While Cuba continues to receive requests for medical help in the corona crisis, Washington steps up campaign against Havana
While Cuba sent two other medical brigades of the “Henry Reeve” contingent to Italy and to West Africa’s Togo over Easter, US politicians are intensifying their attacks against Cuba’s international aid missions. The new attacks were first disseminated via the state-run US propaganda broadcaster Radio and TV Martí and the Contraportal Diario de Cuba, which are financed by the US NED (National Endowment for Democracy).
Luckily for the patients whose lives the Cuban medical doctors are trying to save, the shabby US campaign has so far come to nothing. Despite the attacks from Washington, the Cuban Ministry of Health continues to receive requests for assistance.
Yesterday the Monday after Easter, another aid brigade from the socialist island republic landed at Turin airport in the northern Italian region of Piedmont, consisting of 21 doctors, 16 nurses and a logistics coordinator. This deployment of Cuban professionals comes at the request of the President of the Region, Alberto Cirio, which was recently sent to the Havana authorities by the Italian Minister of Health, Roberto Speranza.
After the positive work of their 52 colleagues in the neighboring Lombardy region, the 38 health experts are now strengthening the Cuban specialist teams in Italy.
At the same time yesterday, a smaller brigade consisting of eleven intensive care physicians, epidemiologists and nurses reached Togo. While the world looks above all at Europe and the USA, the spread of the pandemic must also be combated in Africa, said the head of the group, Miguel Gómez Cruz, before departing from Havana.
Although politicians, and especially patients from numerous countries, expressed their appreciation and gratitude for the support of specialists from the international medical contingent “Henry Reeve”, Michael G. Kozak, the Deputy Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs in the US State Department, warned foreign countries on Friday about accepting help from Havana. On Twitter, Kozak urged the countries cooperating with Cuba to protect the “right of doctors to organize and set collective agreements.” The Undersecretary of State proclaimed that the doctors involved in the voluntary missions “only received part of the salaries” that were paid and that the majority went “to the regime’s coffers.”
Actually, members of the Henry Reeve Brigades operating in wealthy countries waive part of the contractually agreed sums paid there, so that Cuba can also carry out missions in countries that are unable to pay for medical operations.
Washington has long been a thorn in the side of the model of solidarity that has been recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) as an example.
Since the spread of the corona virus, the United States has intensified its campaign against the medical brigades. “The Cuban regime is shamelessly taking advantage of the Covid-19 pandemic to launch a fraudulent medical diplomacy campaign by trading doctors,” the Miami-based daily El Nuevo Herald quoted the ultra-right Republican Congressman Mario Díaz-Balart at the weekend.
In the same article Kozak added: “Crises do not justify human trafficking in health professionals who need protection today more than ever.” US politicians claim that Cuba “cannot be a reliable partner” in the fight against the pandemic because “the aim of the communist regime in Havana «with the aid missions is merely to» divide the international community «,» to build a positive image abroad «and to distract» from systematic human rights violations «.
Human rights organizations in the United States dismissed Kozak and Díaz-Balart’s statements as “aggressive rhetoric.” “In the midst of a global pandemic, representatives of the Trump administration and Florida politicians are trying to rekindle the Cold War instead of improving people’s access to medical care,” criticizes the Washington Office for Latin America (WOLA).
The head of this organization, Geoff Thale, warned against “politicizing the much-needed international medical cooperation in order to denounce the Cuban government.” The current situation requires “more commitment and collaboration, not less,” said Thale.