Trump Against the Cuban Doctors

By Ángel Guerra Cabrera, November 18, 2020

Photo: Ismael Batista

Cuban-American Senators Marco Rubio and Robert Menéndez are unfolding new and sinister adventures against their country of origin. Perennial supporters of the anti-Castro industry, they propose laws against Cuban medical cooperation and promote, with federal funds, a campaign to give a false and grotesque image of it as vulgar human trafficking and a producer of funds to “swell the coffers of the state”. An important objective they are pursuing is to intensify the campaign within the UN and in Europe to prevent the awarding of the Nobel Prize to the Henry Reeve Cuban medical brigades, a proposal being promoted by hundreds of personalities and social and humanitarian organizations that already have the support of tens of thousands of signatures in the world, including the United States.  The political context that makes these actions possible and encourages them is the intensification of the blockade of Cuba by the government of Donald Trump to unprecedented levels of suffocation.

This policy has been taken to the cruelest extremes during the Covid-19 pandemic and includes an unusual degree of persecution of Cuban medical cooperation in the world, including blatant pressure on many governments that resulted in the expulsion of thousands of health workers from the island from Brazil, Bolivia and Ecuador.

This was a considerable blow to Cuba’s economy, since the export of medical services is a main source of income. But, above all, it produced a sensitive and abrupt deterioration of the health situation in the three countries and caused their fragile public health systems to be weakened to a great extent on the eve of the arrival of the new coronavirus in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The drastic worsening of the South American sanitary and epidemiological situation as a result of Trump’s brutal policy against Cuban medical assistance, his harassment of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), his denialist attitude towards the virus and science, and even his recommendation of dubious remedies for the disease has been so relevant that it merited an extensive article in The New York Times entitled “Donald Trump and Jair Bolsonaro weakened Latin America’s sanitary defenses against Covid-19”. The New York Times article, which no one in their right mind would describe as friendly to Cuba, makes this statement almost at the outset: “Trump and Bolsonaro expelled 10,000 Cuban doctors and nurses from several impoverished areas of Brazil, Ecuador, Bolivia and El Salvador. Many left, without being replaced, only months before the pandemic arrived”.

It continues: “Then, both leaders attacked the international organization most qualified to fight the virus, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), citing its participation in the Cuban medical program. With Bolsonaro’s help, Trump nearly bankrupted the agency by withholding promised funds at the height of the outbreak to an extent not previously disclosed.”

“The Trump government continues to put pressure on other countries to expel Cuban doctors. This summer, an organization of Caribbean states (referring to CARICOM, of which 15 Caribbean states and 5 associate member territories are members) condemned the White House for threatening to blacklist those who refuse to do so,” he adds.  It should be recalled that the health systems of these States have been built with significant participation by Cuba, which has also trained a large part of its health personnel.

As an important part of these actions, Havana has maintained a powerful medical brigade in Haiti free of charge since 1998, which has been decisive in raising the health indices of the country that was the protagonist of the first triumphant anti-slavery revolution in history, in helping the victims of hurricanes and the earthquake of 2010 and in fighting the cholera epidemic of the same year. Cuban medical and nursing personnel were reinforced in those states during the pandemic as part of the 52 brigades that, from Cuba, have faced the coronavirus in recent months, with approximately 3,000 members, in dozens of countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Oceania.

The followers of Trump are furious with the international recognition that Cuban medicine and biotechnology have gained, augmented by the experience of the covid-19, and they rage at the island’s success in confronting the pandemic, with one of the lowest infection and fatality rates among many countries. Not to mention the stark comparison to the United States, Brazil, Peru, Chile, Bolivia, Colombia and European countries.

Trump, will leave the White House, but he will remain at the head of that fascist horror that is Trumpism. And then there is the Cuban-American mafia, which, although it shares the same ideology as Trump, now runs to pay homage to Biden to save the millions in funds provided by the federal budget to fight for “democracy” in Cuba.

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

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