Amidst the pandemic the world has been facing, Cuba has been a beacon of hope. Over the past few weeks, Cuba has sent 593 medical workers to 14 countries to aid their battles against coronavirus. The first team was sent to Italy during its hardest times, followed by Andorra, Nicaragua, Surinam, Jamaica, Haiti, Belize, Dominica, as well as a plethora of small Caribbean island nations. Alongside the doctors Cuba has already sent abroad, they have received requests from countries across the world. Cuba is no stranger to lending a helping hand during times of international crisis. Ever since Fidel Castro came to power in 1959, Cuba has sent doctors to Chile, Venezuela, South Africa, Brazil, Ecuador, Qatar, and many more, some for free, others for hard currency. The article speaks very highly of Cuba’s public healthcare system and their help during times of crisis. They also note that it is internationally recognized for its capabilities both at home in Latin America and across the globe.
Two main points stuck out that are relevant to our class. The first was Cuba’s relationship with the United States. The article discusses the turmoil in the US and Cuba’s relationship over the past 50-60 years and how it still affects Cuba today. Many times, the United States has tried to persuade countries in need of help not to accept the Cuban medical teams, possibly to stop the Cuban government from receiving payments in return. The US themselves rejected Cuba’s help during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. It amazes me that the US is still so sour towards Cuba, whether they’re trying to help the US or other countries in need.
On a more positive note, the other point this article highlights is the history of Latin American cooperation. Though other countries such as Brazil and Ecuador do not use Cuban medical workers anymore due to their own developments, their past shows a strong bond between Latin American countries, especially during a time of need. Hopefully Cuba sees continued success with their medical teams worldwide and can help the world fight off the pandemic.
Petkova, Mariya. “Cuba has a history of sending medical teams to nations in crisis,” Al Jazeera, April 1, 2020, https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/cuba-history-sending-medical-teams-nations-crisis-200331112744040.html