Canadian Network on Cuba
Working in friendship and solidarity with Cuba
-Isaac Saney, CNC Spokesperson, March 30, 2020-
The Canadian Network on Cuba (CNC) is launching the Cuba Against COVID-19 Campaign to support the heroic island’s internationalist medical missions that are combatting the pandemic across the world. At the time of writing, Cuba has more than 800 medical personnel serving humanity in the trenches of 16 countries against the dreaded corona virus: including Italy (currently with the greatest number of fatalities), Spain, Andorra, in Europe; Jamaica, Antigua and Barbuda, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Haiti, Saint Lucia, Suriname, Grenada, Dominica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, and Belize, in the Caribbean; Venezuela and Nicaragua, in Latin America, and Angola in Africa. In the coming days more Cuban medical missions will be dispatched to other countries.
Currently, at least, 45 countries have sought to use Cuba’s Interferon Alfa 2B Recombinant (IFNrec) for confronting the COVID-19 pandemic. The international profile and acknowledgement of IFNrec is steadily growing. For example, there is the March 24 Newsweek article, “Cuba Uses ‘Wonder Drug” to Fight Coronavirus Around the World Despite U.S. sanctions,” and, “The world rediscovers Cuban medical internationalism,” in the March 30 issue of Le Monde Diplomatique. The Chinese National Health Commission is using IFNrec as a crucial component of the anti-viral treatment to combat the coronavirus. In the recently published extensive medical handbook by Zhejiang University School of Medicine on how to treat COVID-19 based on China’s experience with the pandemic, IFNrec is identified as a significant part of the treatment. It has been very effective among the most vulnerable patients in China, Cuba, and Italy.
Cuba’s medical missions and other generous assistance to humanity in this time of pandemic reflects the island’s history and dedication over the last six decades of always standing with the peoples of the world in their time of need. During the course of the Cuban Revolution more than 400,000 Cuban healthcare workers have served in 164 countries. For example, many of the medical personnel now intimately involved in the fight against COVID-19 in the 16 countries mentioned are part of the specially trained Henry Reeve International Medical Brigade against Disasters and Serious Epidemics, which distinguished themselves the fight against the Ebola epidemic in West Africa.
Cuban internationalist medical missions have often been compared to dreamcatchers. Just as dreamcatchers allow only good dreams to pass through, while preventing nightmares, so too the Cuban medical internationalist missions do their utmost to stop the nightmares of disease from reaching the people.
Cuba is also engaged in its own fight against COVID-19. It is doing this in the face of an unrelenting economic war waged by the United States against the people of Cuba: a war that limits the island’s access to equipment and other necessary items required to preserve the health of Cubans. However, as it has always done, and continues to do, the Cuban government affirms and upholds that healthcare is a human right and places the well-being of its people at the centre of its policies and political decisions.
The Cuba Against COVID-19 Campaign echoes the 2010 CNC Cuba for Haiti Campaign, which was warmly and enthusiastically received by Canadians. As Haitians struggled to recover from the devastating earthquake, more than $200,000 were raised to assist the Cuban medical mission in Haiti. That campaign demonstrated the confidence that the Canadian people have in Cuba, with many people giving contributions simply on the grounds that their money would safely reach its destination and not be squandered in corruption or misused. This shows the respect and admiration of Canadians for the Cuban people and their efforts to build and defend a society centred on independence, justice and human dignity.
For more information on the Cuba Against COVID-19 Campaign contact Keith Ellis, Coordinator CNC Cuba Against COVID-19 Campaign at: (905-822-1972) or Isaac Saney, CNC Spokesperson at: 902-449-4967
To Contribute to the Cuba Against COVID-19 Campaign,
cheques should be made out to the “CNC”,
with “COVID-19” written in the memo, and then mailed to:
c/o Sharon Skup
56 Riverwood Terrace
Bolton ON L7E 1S4
Co-Chairs Isaac Saney (Halifax) and Elizabeth Hill (Toronto)