Cuba, Capital of Solidarity

By Elio Delgado Legon

Cuban doctors arriving at a hospital in Andorra. Photo: Diari d´Andorra

HAVANA TIMES – “If Cuba carries on like this, it will be the capital of unity.” This was the statement Pope Francis made in February 2016, after his historic meeting in Havana, with his Holiness Kirill, Patriach of Moscow and all of Russia.

And Pope Francis wasn’t wrong. Cuba is the capital of unity, solidarity and humanism, there’s no doubt about it.

It was unconceivable that Cuba would follow the suit of many other countries, including the US, and deny the British cruise ship MS Braemar entry to its port, which had five confirmed cases of COVID-19 onboard and some 40 potential cases. It was a simple operation if protocols established for these extraordinary situations were complied with: take them off the cruise ship, take them to the airport and put them on charter flights back to the UK. It was a success.

There were people who were against the cruise ship docking in a Cuban port. Some were genuinely concerned, others were being malicious, when they refused Cuba’s solidarity in this instance. I wonder: Could Cuba really cease to show solidarity to this group of humans, many of whom would die out at sea if they didn’t receive any help?

Cuba will never stop showing solidarity to those who ask for help. And this appeal for help came from the British government no less, certain that Cuba wouldn’t fail them, like so many others had.

As I write this piece, over 40 countries have asked Cuba to send medical aid to help fight COVID-19 and brigades have already left for 15 countries, mainly in Latin America and the Caribbean, although a brigade of Cuban doctors was also sent to the Lombardy region in Italy and another to Andorra.

The US government’s attitude is outrageous and sometimes hard to define, but it is pressuring other countries to refuse Cuba’s solidarity during this global pandemic and its own grim situation.

Recent weeks have been emotionally overwhelming, because in spite of the US government’s miserable attitude, there have been many messages of thanks from other countries where Cuba has sent doctors in an act of solidarity.

Ever since 1963, over 450,000 doctors have helped other countries and saved over 7 million lives across the globe. Thousands of doctors, nurses and other health professionals are always ready to go anywhere they are requested. When there was the Ebola virus epidemic in Africa, over 12,000 people were willing to fight the disease, even when they knew the risks this entailed, which emphasises the Cuban people’s and medical professionals’ spirit of solidarity and altruism.

Many of these messages of gratitude have come from Lombardy, in Italy, where a brigade of Cuban doctors are working. One said the following: “It is with a lot of pride and admiration that we have a brigade of Cuban doctors and nurses here to help our country; now, every newspaper will speak well about Cuba, let’s hope that given the current situation, the world can be a little more proper and sincere with a country that has always shown a lot of solidarity with other countries.”

Another message points out that “in spite of the serious difficulties caused by the US’ criminal blockade on the island over many years, Cuba has helped countries with a great deal of generosity and represents what a socialist society is today more than ever before.”

Of course there is no denying that Cuban aid workers are working in adverse circumstances right now, at risk of becoming infected themselves, but determined to help the countries they have gone to, which are already 15 as part of the Henry Reeve contingent, as well as professionals already in other countries, who have joined the fight against COVID-19.

In a few weeks or months, the COVID-19 pandemic will just be a sad memory, because of the thousands of lives it is taking, but many countries will remember Cuba as the capital of solidarity.

Elio Delgado Legon

Elio Delgado-Legon: I am a Cuban who has lived for 80 years, therefore I know full well how life was before the revolution, having experienced it directly and indirectly. As a result, it hurts me to read so many aspersions cast upon a government that fights tooth and nail to provide us a better life. If it hasn’t fully been able to do so, this is because of the many obstacles that have been put in its way.



7 thoughts on “Cuba, Capital of Solidarity

  • Up pops Elio, perhaps rejoicing prematurely about Cuban success. Elio and his fellow Cubans have yet to see the results or consequences of decisions made by his non-democratically elected government about the COVID 19 pandemic. Yes, Cuba has contracted as a critical source of revenue, to provide medical services in other countries, and yes, doing so and allowing those involved to receive rather less than a fifth of the charges made, has more than substantially increased their incomes. But the consequences of COVID 19 in Cuba and the regime’s actions are unknown. That will come later!
    But saving ” more than 7 million lives across the globe” is without substance. That is the figure used by the Propaganda Department of the Communist Party of Cuba, whose statements and figures are faithfully and inevitably replicated by Elio.
    It is absolute bunkum to suggest that Cuba is: “a country that has always shown a lot of solidarity with other countries.” Where was Cuba when the brave people of Hungary took to the streets against the oppression of the USSR, only to be mown down by the Soviet tanks rolling in? Where was Cuba when in 1968 the people of Czechoslovakia revolted against the Soviet communist rule? It was Elio’s hero Fidel Castro Ruz who said in criticism at that time of the Alexander Dubcek led freedom fighters:
    “certain measures were taken such as the establishment of a bourgeois form of freedom of the press. This means the counterrevolution and the exploiters, the very enemies of socialism, were granted the right to speak and write freely against socialism.”
    The answer Elio is that Cuba under the dictatorship of Fidel Castro was opposed to freedom, for it and communism are directly opposed. You Elio, have freedom of expression when writing in Havana Times, but when will such freedom be granted to write with views contrary to those of the communist regime in Cuba within Cuba?
    So-called “solidarity” is newspeak for acceptance of communist thought and action.

    Reply
  • Elio fails to mention that the Cuban “generosity” he writes about comes at a price. To very few poor countries does Cuba send Doctors for free. In the same way, Cuba “generously” sends rum and cigars all over the world, they send Doctors and other medical staff. ‘Pimping out’ their Doctors is big business for Cuba.

    Reply
  • “Thousands of doctors, nurses and other health professionals are always ready to go anywhere they are requested.”

    Do they have any choice? After all, their education was fully paid by the Cuban government so they “owe” a significant debt to their master. And, the government is more than happy to advertise their medical services around the world to whichever country asks. Of course, the government reaps the financial reward for such required services while the front line medical staff receive a small fraction and risk their lives.

    Some – many? – even decide not to return to the “capital of unity” so to speak. Do we ever hear about those who decide not to return and why they make that decision after you paint such a rosy, auspicious, public picture: “Cuba is the capital of unity, solidarity and humanism, there’s no doubt about it.”

    Fair enough I suppose if one is living in a communist country and the government decrees his/her services anywhere it requires. I wonder, if given the choice, all these thousands of medical staff would leave their home country to go to a plagued foreign country and risk their lives for the betterment of idealistic home grown propaganda?

    The Cuban health system is a complete embarrassment for a country that prides itself in telling the world otherwise. Absolutely, it produces some of the best educated doctors and nurses in the world but why must they work in unhealthy, unsanitary, decrepit, medical facilities when the Cuban government can easily use the money it makes from foreign medical missions to provide ordinary Cubans with the necessary health care they rightly deserve. Wasn’t that the bargain for the Revolution? Complete mystery to most outsiders.

    “In a few weeks or months, the COVID-19 pandemic will just be a sad memory…” Not likely. Have you been reading the world news outside of Cuba?

    Weeks? Months? This pestilent pandemic is only beginning (this is April 2/’20) to take its frightening death toll in the United States, Canada, Russia, and elsewhere. Countries are working diligently and hoping to flatten the curve. This pandemic, perhaps in the distant future but certainly not in the time frame you suggest, will be a sad memory. Those optimistic time frames you state are not realistic as postulated by expert medical health authorities in Western countries.

    Even in Cuba this pandemic is only going to, sadly and unfortunately, proliferate because ordinary Cubans who deserve better do not have access to quality health care facilities they absolutely require and should be entitled to as citizens; health care and health care facilities which, sadly, are provided, undeterred and shamefully, to foreign paying tourists who ironically brought the virus to your country in the first place.

    Reply
  • I am glad to see Elio back and look forward to more from him.

    Reply
  • Douglas W Runyon will undoubtedly read more from Elio Delgado Legon. The Propaganda Department of the Communist Party of Cuba has limitless resources and Elio mirrors it’s spoutings with remarkable precision!

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  • Thank you Elio for a wonderful opinion. They are always pleasant to read. It seems that truth always pushes the north americans towards hate and hateful comments, but yet they are the ones who are so desperate for humanism, equal rights, justice and love. Lets wish them that too!

    Reply
  • “hateful” is a word that accurately describes Fidel and Raul Castro. Don’t forget that it was Fidel Castro who urged Nikita Khrushchev to launch a nuclear strike on the US, and it was Raul Castro who executed 78 people without trial in one day at Santiago de Cuba. Elio Delgado Legon is a faithful adherent to those two. So does the word “hateful” apply to him?
    You John Smith (an excellent beer produced in Doncaster) make assumptions when you write disparagingly of “north americans”. I have a British Passport.

    Reply

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