In difficult times like these, while superpowers impose sanctions, Cuba builds bridges and sends medical brigades to support nations that need our help.
The new COVID-19 pandemic makes no distinctions. It attacks rich and poor nations alike, east to west, north to south. It has pushed the world to the brink of disaster, only comparable to the human devastation of World War II. A virus has shown that, in difficult times like these, impose sanctions, Cuba builds bridges and sends medical brigades to support nations that need our help.
This Sunday, two more Cuban medical brigades from the Henry Reeve International Contingent departed for Italy in Europe and Togo in West Africa. The two planes, loaded with dozens of health workers from this small Caribbean island, took off in opposite directions.
One would soon arrive in Turin, in the Italian province of Piedmont, one of the wealthiest in the country, severely affected by the pandemic; while the nation has recorded almost 20,000 deaths and more than 150,000 infections.
This is the second brigade to arrive in Italy; the first reached Lombardy in mid-March, a region hit hard by the disease.
The other new brigade reached an often overlooked point on the map, Togo, one of the poorest countries on the African continent, impacted by the new coronavirus like many first world nations.
"Cuba is the most beautiful that has happened in the world in these difficult times. It makes no distinctions. Although many criticize the island country, the truth is that everyone else is going to Europe, nobody comes to Togo. Cuba is always with the most needy," noted Uruguayan journalist Leandro Grille on Twitter.
The National Association of Italian-Cuban Friendship thanked “the Cuban people and government for this great gesture of solidarity, humanity and altruism amidst a dramatic health emergency that has also affected the island.”
We could not help but think of Cuba when, on Easter Sunday, Pope Francis delivered his Urbi et Orbi prayer, in St. Peter's Basilica with no parishioners on hand, and called for an end to wars and sanctions.
Journalist Matias Vega posted on Twitter, "While the U.S. is determined to tighten sanctions against the island and other countries, such as Venezuela, at a time when people need to be united, Cuban doctors are risking their lives to heal others. Cuba, today more than ever, saves."